Book Marketing – What Works? (Part 5): Interview with Romance Author Amy CecilPosted: October 2, 2017 | |
So far in this Book Marketing – What Works? series we’ve heard about: social media marketing vs. face-to-face marketing methods form dark fantasy author, Cynthia Vespia in Part 1; digital marketing strategies from co-authors Mark Todd and Kym O’Connell Todd in Part 2; social media marketing and street teams for reviews from YA author Jordan Elizabeth in Part 3; and branding and free promotions from author Tim Baker in Part 4.
Today, I’m pleased to bring you a chat with contemporary and historical romance author Amy Cecil, who is a self-published author, who uses book blog tours and street teams to promote her work. I met Amy when I interviewed her for her book blog tour through Full Moon Bites Promotions for the release of the second book in her Knights of Silence MC series, Ice on Fire. So, without further ado, please welcome Amy Cecil.
Kaye: In addition to your Knights of Silence MC contemporary romance series, you write historical romance. Would you like to talk about those books a little?
Amy: Of course I would! I have two historical romance novels published that are variations of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. You know, the kind of stories that you always wonder, “what if?” Well I did and I decided to create my own “what if” story in Jane Austen’s world. I am currently working on a third historical romance, also a Jane Austen variation, titled On Stranger Prides.
Kaye: What made you decide self-publish?
Amy: At first, I really didn’t have a choice. The publishing companies that I originally contacted were not interested or were not taking new authors at that time. I didn’t know that self-publishing was an option until I did some research. Self-publishing was the only chance I had to get my stories out there. I have no complaints with the self-publishing world, but I do believe it requires a lot more work on the part of the author.
Kaye: How much non-writing work, (marketing & promotion, illustrations & book covers, etc…), do you do yourself for your books?
Amy: Originally, I did everything myself. But as I got savvier, I have since hired a professional editor and cover designer both with Creative Digital Studios. And marketing, well, I never did anything in the early days. I never realized how important it was until I decided to hire a PA.
Kaye: How much work do you contract out? Book Covers? Editing? Marketing? Etc…?
Amy: Creative Digital Studios does all my promotional materials, however I may do a teaser or two myself. My two PA’s Alicia Freeman and Monica Diane do all my marketing and promoting. I do a little myself when I am not trying to meet writing deadlines.
Kaye: How do you feel about the marketing tasks you have to do? Do you embrace them or loath them? Why?
Amy: That’s a trick question. LOL… I’m just kidding. Sometimes I am all excited about doing some marketing of my books, other times not so much. It really all depends on my mood and what else I have to do.
Kaye: You and I met through Full Moon Bites Promotions, when they hosted your book blog tour for Ice on Fire. For that tour I did a review of your book and we did an author interview. Is that the first book blog tour you’ve done? What kind of results did you see from it? Was there a rise in sales? Do you feel it was a successful marketing venture?
Amy: It was the first blog tour I have ever done – and I assure you, I will not release another book again without one. I really can’t say that I saw a rise in sales, but what I did see was my new release ALL OVER SOCIAL MEDIA! And if I saw it, then I am sure millions of others saw it. So, yes, I feel it was completely successful.
Kaye: You recently did your first book signing at Barnes & Noble. How did that go? How successful do you feel that was, as a marketing strategy?
Amy: That was freaking awesome! For an indie author like myself to actually get into a major bookstore is huge! I met a lot of great people that day, including the B&N staff. On the marketing end, I believe it was very successful. It’s definitely opened up a lot of doors for me.
Kaye: You have a street team who help you promote your work, Amy’s Amazing Street Girls. Can you talk a little about what your street team does and how you build a street team?
Amy: I can definitely talk about my street team, but a little – not so much! My street team is amazing!! I didn’t realize when we named it Amy’s Amazing Street Girls, that I would continually use the word “amazing” to describe them.
This team is my safe zone. I go to my team when I need someone to bounce ideas off or to get me through a rough writing patch. When I need something shared or a contest voted on I can always count on my team. I host several giveaways in my team and we even have a weekly SWAG giveaway that we do. They help me promote my books everyday.
In return, we (my PA’s and I) entertain them. There is activity in this group every single day. Some days are themed others are not, but we have a lot of fun with whatever we happen to be doing on that particular day. We currently have over 470 members and we add new members every day. Just to show how much I love my street team, my latest release, Ice on Fire is dedicated to them.
Kaye: You have a P.A. who helps promote your work, too. How much of a help in your marketing is this?
Amy: No, I don’t have a PA – I have two, Alicia Freeman and Monica Diane. These ladies are my biggest support in all aspects of writing. They promote my stuff, they run my street team, they do Author Takeover Events – they do everything. I would be lost with them and still don’t know how I survived as an author before them.
Kaye: Do you pay your P.A.s or your street team?
Amy: I do pay my pa’s, but not members of the street team.
Kaye: So what is involved in building a street team?
Amy: I believe that you need to constantly be recruiting new members – keep them engaged daily and offer lots of perks for them to be a member of the team. My PA’s have worked really hard in building the team and I am just along for the ride. LOL.
Kaye: You promote a lot on social media, including book release parties and the like. How effective do you find social media marketing to be? Do you feel they increase your sales or are the biggest benefits in gaining new followers?
Amy: I’m not really sure if social media has increased my sales, as I believe people are buying books like they used to. Indie authors have got them self in rut by giving away free books that I believe a lot of people on social media are looking for the freebie. But on the flip side of that, social media has definitely given me exposure. To me, the exposure outweighs the sales because I am a firm believer that eventually that exposure will lead to more sales.
Kaye: What other marketing strategies have you used?
Amy: I have done Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon ads and giveaways. I have also done advertising in Inks and Scratches magazine and have attended several signing events.
Kaye: What would you say works best to sell books, as far as marketing goes?
Amy: Me. I know that sounds odd, but I find that I sell more books if I am physically in front of the person telling them about my book. I have done a lot of signings this year and that face-to-face contact between me and the reader makes a huge difference.
Kaye: What advice would you give to new authors trying to get their work out there?
Amy: Don’t be afraid to spend some money. First and foremost hire a good cover designer and editor. It is so worth it in the end. And definitely hire a PA! Their rates are reasonable and their value is priceless!
Thank you so much Kaye Lynne!
No thank you Amy, for joining us on Writing to be Read, not once, but twice. And thanks for sharing some of your marketing experiences with us. If you’d like to learn more about Amy or her books, visit her Amazon Author Page, her Goodreads Author Page, or her website.
Don’t miss next week, when my guest will be hybrid author, Chris Barili in Part 6 of the Book Marketing – What Works? series. If you don’t know what a hybrid author is, you’ll have to check back in to find out.
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