A big warm welcome please to my first ever guest interviewer, Francine Silverman. Today she interviews mystery novelist and how-to author, publisher and consultant Patricia Fry who guest blogged for me back in December 2013.
A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Patricia Fry is a full-time freelance writer and the author of 41 books, including 11 related to writing / publishing / book promotion. Her latest book for authors is Promote Your Book—Over 250 Proven, Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author. She is executive director of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers’ Network), and speaks on such topics as successful book promotion and how to promote your books though article writing.
Patricia has more than 40 years’ experience marketing her own self-published and traditionally published books, consults with clients on issues of book promotion, edits manuscripts for authors, teaches an on-line course on book promotion, and writes a monthly newsletter that focuses on book promotion.
Francine: What should we do before even putting pen to paper?
Patricia: I always recommend that hopeful authors study the publishing industry before getting involved in this highly competitive business. Most new authors consider publishing an extension of their writing—something they can ease into once the writing is done. But while writing is a craft, publishing is a serious, complex business. Before ever entering into it, an author needs to know something about his or her publishing options, the possible ramifications of their choices and their responsibility as a published author. Nearly 78% of all authors fail—that is, they sell fewer than 100 books total. And the two main reasons are, they do not fully understand their publishing options and, either by choice or ignorance, they do not put enough effort into promoting their books.
Francine: You state in your book that “by getting your stories published, you are creating a following…by landing an article writing assignment in appropriate magazines and newsletters you will get attention from your target audience.” (You write for my newsletter – does it get you attention?)
Patricia: You’re talking about building the authors’ platform. The key is to become known in your field or genre so that when your potential readers happen across your book, they will be more apt to purchase it. If they read your published articles and stories and enjoy them—if they consider you credible in your field or a good storyteller in a particular genre—they will be more interested in reading a book you wrote. You can create a following (build your platform) in a number of ways—go out and speak on your topic/genre, run workshops, create and maintain an active blog site, and (my favorite) submit articles or stories to the publications and websites read/visited by your potential audience. Do my articles published in The Book Promotion Newsletter get my audience’s attention? Most certainly. But writing for just one publication probably isn’t enough. You want your name to appear alongside good stories (for a novelist) and credible articles (for a nonfiction author) in numbers of magazines, websites, newsletters, e-newsletters, blogs and so forth. Successful book promotion is a full-time job.
Francine: In your chapter about press releases you write that when seeing an article about you and one of your books, people often ask “How did the reporter find out about you?’ Your answer is “I contacted them and asked for an interview.” Can you give an example from your own experience how this worked?