Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Theory on Thursday with Nas Dean

Today I have a Theory on Thursday that's a little bit different. I'm welcoming Nas Dean to the hot seat - I've asked her some questions about her book promotion business. I know a fair few authors who are choosing to use a book promotion service now to arrange blog tours for them. I haven't done so myself yet but am curious as to exactly what it entails, etc, so I thought others might be too. Feel free to leave questions for Nas in the comments section too.

Me: What is your official job title?

Nas: I don’t know! But recently I had some cards made with “Promoting New Release Books and Authors” under my name! Our local papers pick up my reviews for their Sunday Magazine so I needed cards. Can I share a secret? I’m in talks with our local TV to feature my authors and their books. Maybe interview via skype but this is all in the very stages at the moment.

Me: How long have you been operating a book promotion business?

Nas: I’m fairly new at book promotions.  I have a background of Financial Management and Marketing after which I did some further studies in Information Systems while living in Auckland NZ. Computer Programming and Data Processing doesn’t really prepare you with proper English! But my passion has always been reading, so when we semi-retired to Fiji, I started reading to fill my time as there was no job available to someone with my qualifications in my age group. Then I got into online writer’s groups and into Harlequin community.
Actually Wendy S Marcus first suggested to me that I would be good at Marketing and Promoting books, using my marketing skills with a slightly different objective.  Here I’m targeting readers. And not just online. I do it in my local bookshops and libraries as well, by distributing authors bookmarks and cards. This is actually a novelty here as there are readers but no authors. So our readers don’t even know what an author signing is.

Me: What services do you offer to authors? How do you promote a book? What mediums do you use?

·        Nas: I create Author Pages with Buy Links for books and social media links for the author. A dedicated author page linked to my site, Romance Book Paradise, which has very high romance reader traffic.
·        I arrange Blog Tours to coincide with new release books for the authors. In recent times we had many successful tours, starting with Wendy S. Marcus, Kate Walker, Christina Hollis, Helen Lacey and still ongoing are Lynne Marshall, Louisa George and Emmie Dark.
·        Then I create Author and Book Pages on Fresh Fiction, Goodreads, Shelfari and Library Thing etc. I also make Romance Wiki page for my authors with separate pages for their books with excerpts and linked to their websites.
·        With subsequent books I offer Banner Space and Books Space linked to author’s book pages/Amazon on my very high reader traffic sites.
Me: Why do you think author’s benefit from hiring an outside party to do their promotion?

Nas: You must know how hard an author works. And when they are engrossed in writing they are often absent minded. So how can they do their marketing? And if they do their own promotion, who will write their subsequent books? Mostly they are under deadline to complete books. And setting up a tour is a time consuming job. All the scheduling needed and liaising with various blogs for an author to appear there.   Authors are busy people, they are not in contact with reader blogs as I am. Think of the tour as a Book Signing not around the country but around the Globe- wherever your books are sold without leaving your home or the associated expenses. Authors’ names are ‘Out There!’ by going on a virtual tour. So it’s easier on subsequent books as well.

Me: Do you promote e-books and self-published writers?

Nas: Yes, recently I promoted Tracy Sumner, who was re-releasing her Historicals as eBooks (self-publishing) and Nina Jade Singer who has an eBook out.

Me: Do you believe that authors who connect with readers via Facebook, Twitter and other social media are more likely to get reviews for their books?

Nas: The most rewarding part of writing, second only to holding your books in print should be connecting with readers. An author should connect with her readers via social media. This interaction is which make a reader pick up a certain authors’ book in the bookshop. And readers would say if they liked a book. So an online verbal review on social media counts as much as a written review. Anything once written online is saved there forever. It won’t fade. Just Google a sentence and it will come up again.

Me: What is your Top Do and Top Don’t for authors who are being promoted?

Nas: Answer and comment back at every commenter who reads your posts. If authors don’t comment, it feels like these commenter’s are being snubbed. Have your Blogger/Wordpress profile with your proper name and a photo which readers can focus on. You can’t comment back with a cute tag such as ‘sweet babe’. No. You have to have your author name out there.
 And get the posts ready as soon as the schedule goes up. Some blogs ask for posts early up to two weeks in advance as they have newsletters or early promotion to do.

Me: How long before a book comes out do you start planning an author’s book tour? How long in advance do you need for someone to sign with you?

Nas: Eight to six weeks in advance. Some sites are booked up to three months in advance so we need to be prepared.

Me: Is self promotion frowned upon?

Nas: First, most readers recognize that authors need to market their books and promote themselves. No one begrudges a writer who talks about her book. In fact if you check an authors website and find nothing on their books or buy links, it is right to question that author’s professionalism. Not only readers tolerate marketing, we expect it! But there’s a fine line between self promotion and self absorption.  Authors are in other authors and writers community not readers, so talking about their books comes across as ‘Me and My Book!’ Consider this, when we, as readers say this is a new release book so all readers out there listen. We are generating interest for your book as readers. 
Have you heard someone say, ‘If your book is good enough, you don’t need to market it?’ Well, this isn't the case unless your name starts with “J” and ends with “ling”!
And don’t expect me to work wonders and shoot your book on the chart buster lists. We must do our best and work hard. The biggest and most obvious key to selling books is garnering exposure for the book and the author personally. The goal of marketing is to expose your book to as many people as possible in an exciting, cost effective and entertaining way. Guest blogging can achieve that goal. Blogs are archived, so your posts become and often are viral, spreading from site to site. That is LEVERAGE! You are leveraging your internet presence and duplicating yourself with every blog stop. Your Blog Tour is working for you even while you sleep. Try doing that at a bookstore or library signing!

Thanks Rachael for giving me this opportunity to do a bit of self promoting! I’ll be around to answer questions.

Thanks Nas - please bombard Nas with any further questions while she's here.

And I'd also love to hear from any authors who have used a service like Nas' - how did it work for you?


Anita Joy said...

That's a really interesting insight (and good to know for when I get the call *wink*). Thanks Rach and Nas.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Rachael and Nas!
You know I wouldn't be able to manage a blog tour without your help, Nas. You've been a dream, and you tailored my wishes for how many blogs I thought I could handle a week etc.

Even though I've been writing medical romance for Mills & Boon since 2006,I am a debut HarlequinSpecial Edition author, so discoverability is key. I feel you've helped me a great deal.

Listen up authors!

Fiona Lowe said...

Some good advice there, Nas. Thanks for sharing.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Anita!

Thanks so much for reading along and for your comment! My fingers are crossed for you to get that 'Call' fast!

Nas Dean said...

Hello Lynne!

You were super to work with. You're so advanced in sending your posts that all the early promotion is done for your book.

The Blog Tour helped- sure but I feel the pages I created for your book on various sites gave more exposure for COURTING HOS FAVORITE NURSE and AN INDISCRETION!

Wishing you all the best!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Fiona,

Thanks for reading along and being always so supportive of me!

Joanne Dannon said...

Rach - thanks for inviting Nas on to your blog - I found her Q&A fascinating.

Nas - thanks for all your insights, I found your replies very informative. I totally agree that a writer needs to write. But promotion is really important. Having help in doing this seems to be a very good idea.

Nas Dean said...

Hello Joanne!

Thanks for you lovely comment! But Rachael asked some insightful questions which I had to answer.

I'm just trying to help out but at the same time as one author pointed out, I do need to pay the bills!

Nas Dean said...

Thank you Rachael for asking me over today and for these questions!

Helen Lacey said...

Hi Nas and Rach!

I chose to do the blog tour with Nas for a couple of reasons. My first book was coming out and I didn't have a very visible online profile and needed help with that. I also wanted to use the time I had for promotion effectively. Romance Book Promotions knew which blogs to target to get to my potential audience. Plus, I was working through revisions on my third contracted book and didn't have the time to do the 'leg' work.

Working with Nas was a great experience and one I would recommend for both new an established authors. We are working in an ever evolving business, the trick is to evolve with it.

Great post :)

Laura said...

Hi Nas and Rachael!

I didn't know Nas did all of these as well. I just thought she reviewed books only.

SO much information on this post. Thanks for sharing Nas, and thank you Rachael for spotlighting Nas.

Louisa George said...

Hi Rachel! Hi Nas!

Great interview - and such fun to see Nas in the spotlight for a change!

Nas is a complete wonder- she has organized a blog tour for me and taken out all the hard work. It's an absolute pleasure to work with her...I just have to show up at the right place at the right time and everything else is planned, run and sorted for me by Nas!

Not only that but she's created a gazillion pages for me on all the important reader sites and directs traffic to wherever I am...and she answers all my technophobe questions! I'd highly recommend Nas to anyone thinking of undertaking promotion.

Nas, you're a star!! Thank you x

Nas Dean said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks for your glowing recommendations!

It was lovely to work with you too.

Nas Dean said...

Hello Laura!

Thanks for reading along!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Louisa,

It's so wonderful to work with you too!

Yes, those pages do more wonder as they are there for anyone who Googles you or your book. The internet never sleeps and we do need to move forward with these online presence.

Thanks for your recommendation!

Serena Tatti Story Editor said...

Hi Nas,
I've known you since the beginning. I've watched you go from strength to strength and build your business from the ground up. You have done a spectacular job setting up your Blog Tour Site. I never even knew they existed until you mentioned it to me! I'm very proud of you for all you've achieved and I'm also proud to call you my friend :)

Rach, thanks for having Nas as your special guest. A great interview and some very insightful answers.
Hugs to both of you

Nas Dean said...

Hi Serena,

You've always been supportive of me, my friend and was the one person who pushed me to take this leap right from the beginning.

Friends, Serena would Google links and email them to me for information!

Thank you Serena for all your support and help!

Rachael Johns said...

Hi everyone - thanks for stopping by!! Having done about 10 blog posts for the release of One Perfect Night (all organised by moi) I LOVE the idea of hiring someone to do the hard work :)

Wendy S. Marcus said...

Hi Nas!
You know I'm a fan! You have done so much to increase my presence on the web. LOVE my romance wiki pages. Thanks for everything.

And as far as Rachel's question about author's self-promoting, readers will only take so much of an author talking about herself before they tune you out. In some places, like Goodreads, it is frowned upon except in certain groups. On Twitter a person once tweeted something like: Dear Author, I am more likely to buy your book if someone other than you recommends it. That's why it's good to have someone like Nas working on your behalf.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Wendy,

Thank you so much for believing in me and starting me on this journey. Like I said in the post above that it was Wendy, who saw this potential in me to market books.

Lol! I used to market real estate! And do financial management for the real estate business. Which I still do part time!

Emmie said...

Hi Nas and Rachael!

I couldn't agree more with the comments that others have left about Nas's helpfulness and the need for a proper, planned approach to marketing and promotion. As a newbie author, I still have a day job too, and I couldn't possibly have managed all the blog spots and web pages necessary to do a good job of getting "Cassie's Grand Plan" out there for readers without Nas's help. Having said that, there are a few pages out there that need me to go comment, so I'd better run off and do that now! ;)

Maria from 'gaelikaa's diary' said...

A very interesting post. Lots of information here.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Emmie,

Thank you so much for your lovely comment and for believing in me that I would be able to market your debut book!

Taking CASSIE'S GRAND PLAN out there for you is my objective at the moment.

Likewise for ONE MONTH TO BECOME A MUM for Louisa George and COURTING HIS FAVORITE NURSE for Lynne Marshall.

Then I'm also doing for THE NURSE'S NOT -SO- SECRET SCANDAL for Wendy S Marcus. Though it is Wendy's third title, she still wanted me to market and create pages for it 'Out There!'

I've been creating Banners for all of you!

Nas Dean said...

Thank you Maria for coming along to read this post!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Nas ( and waving to Rachael!)

Thank you for sharing your wise words on marketing!

Christine Nolfi said...

Nas, thanks for sharing your wisdom with all of us hardworking authors. You truly are a marvel.

Nas Dean said...

Hello Kandy!

Thank you for coming along to read this post!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Christine,

Thank you for your lovely comment!