Equinox, Book Two in The Rosie Black Chronicles is out! And its author, Lara Morgan, is here for a chat about marketing and promotion. But before we get started, I need to tell you that you could WIN a copy of Equinox. Want the details? Click here!
And now, it is my great pleasure to welcome Lara Morgan to Literary Clutter…
These days, authors are called upon to do more and more promotion for their books, which many authors find difficult. Do you like doing promotional activities or do you try to avoid them?
Like many authors I’m part hermit, so I can find promotional work quite taxing, but it’s a necessary part of the job so I make sure I make it part of my work for every book. Some I do enjoy, such as the Internet based activities like my blog or just using sites like GoodReads. This book tour for example can be quite fun because I can answer by typing and interact with people from my own home so it’s more relaxing, plus I get to blather on about me and stuff I like in questions like this. I worked at a newspaper for ten years so any kind of media interview is quite easy for me, especially radio.
What’s your favourite form of promotional activity? And your least favourite?
My favourite is the online stuff I just mentioned. Though I find public speaking exhausting, I quite enjoy doing panels at conventions or festivals because I’m with other writers and we talk off the cuff, so that can be fun and often the topics are really interesting and it’s a good place to meet people who love the same things. My least favourite is the solo presentations because there’s a lot of energy and planning that goes into it and there is some pressure to entertain people as well as sounding like you know what you’re talking about. I come off them drained.
Do you have much input into the overall marketing strategy for your books, or do you leave that to your publisher?
We discuss what could be done and I suggest things I could do, opportunities I might have heard of and they tell me what they think could happen. It’s a joint effort really and I always prefer to know what’s going on so we can make the most of any opportunity to promote the book. I’m limited because I live so far away from the action so we do as much as we can online.
Many YA authors market their books by doing school visits. Do you do school visits and if so, how do you approach them?
I’ve just started doing school visits so have only done a few so far, but when I do I like to be as prepared as I can. It depends what I’m going there to do as well. I’ve done planned 45minute talks and just quickly organised visits where I just did a short talk and then question and answer, but I think the most important thing is to know what age group your audience is and to have some personal stories you can share.
Definitely as YA. Even though it is set in the future, I see it more as a futuristic action fantasy than science fiction and I wouldn’t want people picking it up thinking it’s going to be something it’s not.
Reviews are, or course, an important part of marketing. It’s great when you get a positive review… Not so great when you get hit with a negative review. How do negative reviews affect you? Do you think they have much impact on the marketing of your books?
I try to avoid reading any reviews until after the book’s been out for quite a while because of course a bad review can be crushing and even though you might have had ten good ones to one bad, it’s the bad one that always gets under your skin. If I do read a review where someone doesn’t like my work I have a friend I ring who I can rant and cry to who always makes me feel better, and family are very good at soothing the shattered ego as well. At the end of the day though, it’s one person’s opinion and I make an effort to remember that. It doesn’t make it easier, but it can be a reminder to our writer egos that what’s important is the creation of the work. After it’s out there, in some ways it doesn’t belong to us anymore and readers need to be able to respond honestly to their own reading of it.
I don’t think a bad review impacts the marketing of books as everyone knows you can’t please everybody and generally the worst thing you can do is respond to a bad review, so as for the marketing it’s a case of chin up and keep going with the plan.
Book trailers are the latest thing in book marketing. YouTube is full of them, both good and bad. Many authors and publishers have embraced them, while others shun them as a waste of time and money. What’s your view of book trailers?
I really like them. I made my own for a fantasy book I wrote previously and really enjoyed doing it, but I think as a marketing tool they are only effective for certain types of books. Young adult books are I think one of the types that can benefit from trailers because the people the books are marketed for spend a lot of time online and almost expect to see one. Science fiction and thrillers are two other genres that probably benefit from them, but I wouldn’t bother making one for a literary release.
I wish I could say it was all me! But the extent of my input was to say, yes that is fabulous, and sign off on it. All the work was organised by Walker Books and done by very talented people who aren’t me.
What has been the most successful promotional activity that you’ve tried?
I think the blog tour I did for the first Rosie Black book, Genesis, was really effective in terms of the coverage it gained, hence the reason I’m doing it again!
George’s bit at the end
Many thanks to Lara for answering my questions. To find out which other blogs Lara has been visiting on her tour, check out the Rosie Black FaceBook page.
Catch ya later, George
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