- by Dara Girard
An avid romance reader since my teens, my love of romance fiction has developed further through being a former romance book reviewer with several online review sites as well as delving into the world of romance fiction writing. Having built, through the years, a strong network of industry contacts, a friend invited me to join her author promotion business where I found authors really need someone to help promote them and their books.
Why did you decide to start this business?
After learning quite a lot from working in the author promotion business, I realized authors would really rather spend time writing than spending time with the business end of writing. Many really hate tooting their own horn about themselves and their writing so I do it for them! Plus it’s a win-win situation as I learn more about the business, by helping my authors, so I now know more about the various promotion options for when I finally sell my stories. I really love my authors and love to toot their horn for them and help them reach new readers.
What are two big mistakes authors make when it comes to promotion?
Many are leery (or maybe a bit shy) about interacting with readers directly via chats or blogs. But the one great thing about readers is they love to talk about books they’ve read and they’re always looking for new authors to read. You really can’t beat the power of word of mouth.
Secondly, many authors spread themselves thin by spending tons of money on promotional products or venues that give you very little return value. Being in the business for as long as I have, I’ve learned what kind of promotions give the author more bang for their buck.
What kind of promotion has the biggest return on investment (either time, money or both)?
Talking with readers and/or reading groups. Again it’s the power of word of mouth. Blogs are good but not many get a lot of readers commenting so if you want to blog, I’d suggest doing a group blog with other authors. A good example of a group blog that really works is the Plotmonkeys. Also find places that send out newsletters i.e. places like Between Your Sheets, Access Romance, Writerspace, Fresh Fiction etc., and keep sending news every month whether you have a new book to promote or not. Keeping your name out in front of readers means possibly more pre-order sales when that book is about to be released.
What are key ways you think authors can connect and interact with readers?
Book signings, author chats online, blogs and contests. One problem with contests though, is that some people enter contests just to win books that they can then sell on places like EBay. They’re called contest sluts So if you want to have a contest, be aware that not all who enter are really going to read the book.
I think the others work best because not only can readers learn about your books but they also learn a bit about the author. They can relate a face to the name. They see the author’s personality. Even online, while you can’t see a face, the writer’s personality shines through in their conversation style. I know I myself have found many new-to-me authors by first having met them in a public setting. Having enjoyed talking with them, I’ve then gone out to get their books.
Can you tell us more about the chat you host at Romance Reviews Today?
I actually first started hosting author chats when AOL had a romance chat community. So I’ve been hosting author chats for a long time LOL. When AOL decided to drop the communities, I went looking for a new home as well as wanting to gain access to non-AOL readers and authors. I knew the owner of RRT since the AOL days so she offered to give my chats a home. ;) And it’s been a great partnership. Every Wednesday night I have a guest author who usually has a new release to promote. Having built up a steady base of readers/chatters, it’s a fun relaxed hour with the author answering questions about her book and her writing. We’ve had everything from NYT Bestselling authors to debut authors, print as well as eBook authors. I’m always looking for guest authors so if you know any, who have a book coming out in the future, have them contact me!
What do you like most about your job?
I love helping my authors. Helping them succeed even more. Helping them focus more on their writing. Basically I am very selfish. I want more books from them to read! LOL So I am more than happy to let them write while I do the promotion end of business.
What’s the best way for a potential client to reach you?
Best way is via email at MMBAuthorSrvcs@aol.com. I offer varied services besides the ones already mentioned i.e. getting reviews, doing online promotion, etc. Don’t have time to promote? Contact me and we’ll talk
Anything you’d like to add?
Just thanks for letting me promote myself!