Book promotion: What really works?

That’s the million dollar question isn’t it?  I wish I had the million dollar answer. But I’m a problem solver by nature. I enjoy that. That’s probably why I like mysteries as much as I do. There’s a puzzle to solve. A question to answer.

And, since I’m a book publicist by trade, I guess this is a question that I need to consider more than most. When it comes to book promotion today, what does really work?

Well, when trying to find any elusive answer, I often work backwards. The process of elimination. What doesn’t work?

For the purpose of brevity (something for which I’m not well known but I do try), assume that the point of said promotion is to sell books. There are many other apparent points to book promotion but I won’t go there now.

What doesn’t work?

Expecting the publisher to do it. I think we all know that won’t work. We once thought it would if the publisher was one of the biggies but I’m not sure that was ever totally true. Today, I’m sure it’s totally not true unless you’re the biggest author on the list, which most of you aren’t.

Expecting immediate results. I hear it all the time. “I was on the Blah Blah Radio Show and I checked my sales an hour later and hadn’t sold a single book. Guess that doesn’t work!” “I had a book signing at Buy a Book Store and nobody came. That was a waste of time!” Seriously. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard something like that. In our so-called microwave society I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, but it always is. Think about it for a minute. I’ve been at a lot of signing events, and I do always make a point to

Janet Evanovich signing event – I’m guessing her first book signing didn’t look quite like this one.

check out the author/book and usually buy one. But it’s really easy to see the difference in how the author behaves having a huge impact on outcome. Some authors are standing, friendly, laughing, engaging with customers who pass by, while others are sitting, often staring at the table or the wall, with body language that screams don’t come near me! I’ll post about book signings another time. The point is, when is the last time you heard an author interview on the radio and dropped whatever you were doing at the time to rush out and buy a copy of their book? Think repeat exposure – building name recognition and STOP expecting immediate results.

Expecting to wait on book signings until your third or fourth book when you’re better known. I understand the logic in this, but I’ve seen from experience how it can backfire. Book signings are challenging enough these days, but building a following – particularly for a series – starts with the first book. I represented one author who had a lovely series that I really enjoyed who had employed this line of thought and didn’t hire me until the fourth or fifth book. I was shocked when I started contacting stores to set things up and found repeatedly that they weren’t interested. The reasons given primarily focused on low sales and lack of promotional activity for the earlier titles. While it doesn’t seem like entirely sound reasoning from my perspective, I heard it often enough to know it makes a difference to a lot of booksellers. I completely understand why an author would want to avoid the what-if-nobody-comes fear of a book signing event for a little known name, but I think if you’re in it for the duration, you’ve just got to plunge in and start from the beginning.

Expecting social media to do it all for you. This seems to be the most popular one these days. Tweeting and Facebook pages are all the rage. Blogs, blog tours, LinkedIn, Pinterest, whatever. You could easily spend 8 hours a day or more in your jammies from the comfort of your own home without even trying. And you could genuinely be busy doing things (besides playing Farmville) during all that time. But is it working? Is it effective? If you’re reading this, chances are you’re familiar with the blogosphere, Twitter or FB so it must be at least somewhat effective, right? Yes. In fact, it can be quite effective if utilized properly. However, it’s deceptive in its ease of use. A HUGE majority of authors using these social media outlets either don’t use it well (tweeting incessantly something along the lines of “buy my book, buy my book”), or don’t know how to use it well, or find that most of their friends or followers are other authors who are trying to do the same thing. Be honest. Of your 739 followers on Twitter, if 500 of them are authors, how many of those 500 books have you bought? And how many of them have bought yours? Honestly, if all 739 bought yours, which is highly unlikely, how many days/hours of tweeting time investment did you make to get to that point and can you do it again with 739 more followers? Maybe in time. I’m not saying it’s not worth your time to tweet. I tweet. I’m saying look carefully at the time investment vs. outcome. Because even the smallest radio program can put your book in front of several thousand potential readers in about a 15 minute time investment. Sooner or later the numbers will win out.

I could probably go on and on. Those are some things that don’t work, at least not if you focus all of your attention in that one area, which leads back to the original question. What does work?

I wish I could offer you a magic wand that would make your work instantly appealing to every potential reader that sees your information. Wouldn’t that be fabulous? But wait. The key isn’t making your work appeal to every potential reader. Hopefully if your work is good, it already does that. The key is in getting your info out there so more potential readers can see it. Then we trust that many of them will make the right choice and buy it. Book promotion – the effective kind – requires that you consistently increase the number of potential customers who repeatedly see your product information in a variety of venues over an extended period of time. That requires a well-thought-out plan with specific long term and short term goals. In other words, the shotgun approach probably won’t work well for you. Then again, even a broken clock is right twice a day and a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes.

What are your thoughts on what does and doesn’t work in book promotion these days?

An interview with Zoe Sharp

I can’t pick a favourite author, really, because there are just so many good ones out there. But if I could, Zoe Sharp would be near the top of the list. I can’t put my finger on what it is, but I just love her writing and can’t wait each time I hear the announcement of an imminent new release. Like now – the next one isn’t until October, but it’ll be here soon. If you haven’t read her work yet, there’s plenty for you to catch up on between now and then!

PJ: Zoe, How long have you been writing?

Zoe: Most of my life, I think. I’ve always written stories that usually fizzled out halfway down the first page. Then when I was fifteen I wrote my first novel. Although that went off to publishers it received what’s known in the trade as ‘rave rejections’ and I put my fictional ambitions on hold for a few years. Instead, I started writing non-fiction ― magazine articles. A great way for a writer to develop their craft, as it teaches you to write to topic, to length and to deadline, and not be too precious about your ‘art’.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

Zoe: The first time I received an unsolicited email from a reader who was a total stranger, writing to tell me how much they’d enjoyed the book and the character. Without readers we are largely talking to ourselves.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

Zoe: I don’t think any writer realizes at the outset how much publicity is required. It seems such a solitary business, sitting at home with your imagination and a blank computer screen. But when that’s done you have to get out there and tell people about your story.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

Zoe: LOL, there aren’t very many authors living the JK Rowling lifestyle, I’m afraid. But I have been able to make a living from the written word ― both non-fiction and fiction ― since 1988, which I view as quite an achievement!

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

Zoe: My focus is on improving my craft and always has been. As long as I feel each book is better than the last, I’m moving forwards.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

Zoe: Hmm, depends what you class as the first time? I wrote the first Charlie Fox novel over about five or six years, in between the cracks of all my other non-fiction work. It probably took six months to find an agent, but only because of the speed of response times. I queried one agent at once, and the second one who asked to see the whole typescript offered me representation. From there it took another year to find a publisher, and another year before KILLER INSTINCT: Charlie Fox book one was actually a real book on the shelves.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

Zoe: Everything! Bear in mind this was back in 1999 ― there simply wasn’t the same info available to a wannabe writer about successful query letters, agent recommendations, nor was there easy contact available with agents and publishers on social networking sites. You simply had to stick a pin in one of the writers’ handbooks and hope!

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

Zoe: Sleep is very overrated. I admit that when I’m working on a book other things do tend to get neglected, although I’ve altered my writing method for the latest book, working a lot more from notes, and this seems to have helped the flow without too many distractions. It is all important, but at the end of the day my core activity (and I’m SO sorry to slip into management-speak there) is to write the best books I can. Without that, I’ve nothing worthy of promotion.

PJ: LOL I don’t know. I like sleep a lot, but I know what you mean. What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

Zoe: There are too many to list, but making some wonderful friends among the writing community is probably the bestthing that’s happened to me, if that counts? The most exciting has to be when incredibly talented US

Beth Rudetsky

singer/songwriter Beth Rudetsky wrote and performed an original song inspired by FIFTH VICTIM: Charlie Fox book nine. The song is called The Victim Won’t Be Me, and the accompanying video was put together by the equally talented and creative students at Vision West Notts.

PJ: Wow that is so cool. What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

Zoe: People who over-promise and under-deliver.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

Zoe: I was incredibly honoured to be invited to the Mayhem in the Midlands convention a few years ago as their International Guest of Honour. The delightful William Kent Krueger was interviewing me both for the audience and for a recording which was being made of the event. I had the most awful coughing fit in the middle of the interview, literally gasping for breath and unable to speak. Very embarrassing, but Kent coped brilliantly. He pulled a stocking over his head and attacked me with an axe (a plastic one, I hasten to add) for a self-defence demonstration. My response? I pulled a knife on him ― also plastic, before I get hate mail from Kent’s fans! You probably had to be there …

PJ: I heard about that! Wish I’d been there. With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Zoe: Hmm, these are some great questions. Tricky, too. I hope readers are thoroughly engaged by the character of Charlie Fox, and enjoy the fast pace of the situations she finds herself involved in! There’s also quite a backlist for them to enjoy, and the character evolves throughout the series.

PJ: I know I am. What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Zoe: Two things. First, that there are more persistent writers published than there are talented writers published. You will face more criticism in a year as a writer than most people face in a lifetime. How you react to that criticism will be the difference between success and failure. And secondly, pay it forwards.

PJ: That is all SO true. Well said. What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

Zoe: Satisfied readers! I blog on my own website, of course, and put out a regular e-newsletter. I also blog every other week on Murderati, and try to be active on Facebook  and Twitter — @AuthorZoeSharp. And I go to conventions and events both in the UK and the States as often as I can.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Zoe: Blowing my own trumpet. Some authors are very good at the hard sell, but I can’t bring myself to do it — it seems so desperate somehow. I’d rather let people make up their own minds rather than be force-fed one of my books, which I know would put me right off.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

KILLER INSTINCT: Charlie Fox book one

RIOT ACT: Charlie Fox book two

HARD KNOCKS: Charlie Fox book three

FIRST DROP: Charlie Fox book four

ROAD KILL: Charlie Fox book five

SECOND SHOT: Charlie Fox book six

THIRD STRIKE: Charlie Fox book seven

FOURTH DAY: Charlie Fox book eight

FIFTH VICTIM: Charlie Fox book nine

FOX FIVE: a Charlie Fox short story collection

DIE EASY: Charlie Fox book ten — coming Oct 2012 (UK) and Jan 2013 (US)

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

FIFTH VICTIM: Charlie Fox book nine is about not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone. Charlie is tasked to stem a series of increasingly violent kidnappings on New York’s Long Island while also dealing with the continuing coma of her lover, fellow bodyguard Sean Meyer.

Where can we buy it?

Any good bookstore, hopefully. Either your local indie mystery store, or from one of the major retailers, either in store or on line. It’s also available from libraries, and in Large Print, Audiobook and NALB Talking Book formats.

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

Zoe: I could tell you that, but then I’d have to kill you … 🙂

Thanks, PJ, this has been great fun!

There you have it ladies and gentleman. Don’t just take my word for it – see for yourself if her books aren’t some of the very best ones out there! Any questions for Zoe? Comments? 

The Border Lords by T. Jefferson Parker

The Border Lords

A Charlie Hood Novel

T. Jefferson Parker

New American Library, 2012, 400 Pages

ISBN No. 978-0-451-23556-5

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

Sean Ozburn (Gravas) is undercover for Operation Blowdown.  Sean is one of the best undercover operators but Charlie Hood is taken by surprise when Sean begins acting totally out of character.  Sean operates a “safe house” in Buena Vista, California, a border town.  The house has been wired for sound and video.  The current occupants of the house are four gunmen who are members of the North Baja Cartel, the organization, Sean and ATF are hoping to put out of business.  Sean was in the habit of checking in with Operation Blowdown on a daily basis but he hasn’t checked in for a few days and Hood is concerned that Sean’s undercover identity might have been blown.

Charlie Hood, still on loan from the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, was monitoring the live feeds from the “safe house” when the monitors and audio went dark.  After the team requested an unmarked police car to drive by the house, it was decided it would be best to check out the house on their own.  All of the occupants of the “safe house” had been killed.  Hood found a “Love 32” in one of the bedrooms.  The machine gun was the same as ones he had seen being packed for shipment at the Pace Arms factory in Costa Mesa.  He suspected many of the guns had been sent to Mexico and were now being used by the Cartel.  After an inspection of the house, it was found that someone had shut off the video/audio system with a key.    When the team viewed the tape from one of the cameras, they were stunned to see Sean smiling into the camera as he reached up to cover the lens.

So begins the bizarre story of Sean Ozburn and his wife Seliah.  Hood works with Seliah to try to get Sean to come in.  Hood hopes that he can trust Seliah but is unsure that she is being honest with him.  As the story develops, the reader becomes aware that Sean is suffering from a disease that he has been infected with and soon his wife is a victim.  Bradley Jones and his wife Erin play small but important parts in this novel.

The Jaguar is the next Charlie Hood novel and there is a brief introduction to the book at the end of The Border LordsThe Border Lords can be read as a stand-alone.  L. A. Outlaws, The Renegades and Iron River are the first three books in this series.

An interview with John Desjarlais

I’ve had the pleasure of working with John Desjarlais off and on for several years now. I’m sorry he’s not yet a household name. His writing is rich and he’s a storyteller of the finest kind. Listen:

PJ: How long have you been writing?

John: I’ve been writing since the 3rd Grade when a story about my dog was mimeographed by the teacher. I wrote spy novels in junior high (never published them) and I wrote for my high school newspaper and literary magazine. My first job out of college was as a scriptwriter for a media company. I began publishing short fiction around 1987 and my first novel, “The Throne of Tara,” came out in 1990.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

John: I think it was really only last year when reviewers began to comment appreciatively about my style. The writing itself matters to me, not just being published (and it certainly isn’t the money). So to have literary people begin to notice my expression felt rewarding.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

John: It is much harder work, both in writing and in promotion. I think most young writers have something of a romanticized view of this business, and I sure did. There’s more blood, sweat, tears and spit involved than I knew.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

John: My accountant says I have a great tax shelter because I lose money on the enterprise. After my second book “Relics” was published in 1993 and I received a modest 4-figure advance that was twice what I received for the first book, I thought I was on the way. But then I went unpublished until 2009 (except for some short stories and poems) when my mystery BLEEDER finally came out. The advance – from a small house – was rather small. Sales have been – well, I earned out the small advance, let’s put it that way. A handful of celebrity writers make big money and some energetic entrepreneurs seem to be making a killing by self-publishing through Amazon. For the rest of us, the old saying applies: “Don’t quit your day job.”

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

John: My focus has always been on telling the best story I can in the best language. That’s the only way to be (traditionally) published. And being published doesn’t mean you’ll get published again. In fact, it may be harder, since you now have a sales track record. If the record is less than stellar, publishers are less likely to take a risk with you. I think your question means something different today since anyone can ‘get published’ through the self-publishing venues across the Internet, such as Amazon’s Kindle Select, Smashwords and others. Whether I publish through a legacy house or do-it-myself through these new services is something I’m pondering. My focus will still be on the craft.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

John: Surprisingly, not long at all. A few weeks. I wrote “The Throne of Tara” in 1988 and attended a writer’s conference that year in order to pitch to editors and agents. They all said ‘no thanks’, but one referred me to a friend who had started a new agency in California and who was seeking clients. I sent him a query letter – no email in those days – and after two weeks he requested the manuscript. Six weeks later he phoned and offered representation. The book sold almost immediately to Crossway Books and came out in Spring 1990.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

John: I’d be much more involved in promotion. Back in 1990, 1993, I knew little about this. I left it up to the publisher. I know better now, and I did an awful lot of promotion on my own at my expense for my mysteries BLEEDER and VIPER (published in 2009 and 2011).

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

John: It isn’t easy. I’m not sure I do this well. I make lists and keep a detailed calendar. I’m a college professor and have summers off and a winter break. I do a lot of writing then. During the semester, I try to budget time on weekends, and if I’m in a writing spurt, I get up early and set a timer.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

John: I think it was when the editor of my latest novel VIPER emailed me early one morning to say she had finally gotten to my manuscript the day before and it kept her up all night reading.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

John: A novel that I thought had great promise sat in a literary agency for months before the owner sent me a letter saying she’d fired the agent who acquired it and they no longer had an interest in it. The book is still sitting in a drawer after many, many subsequent rejections.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

John: I’m not sure I can point to one thing, but I should mention that I’ve attended many mystery writers’ conferences and I’ve met the sweetest, most intelligent people in these gatherings. You’d never know such nice people killed for a living.

PJ: With more books being released each  month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

John: My work has a spiritual coloring that is thoughtful, highly textured and multi-layered, featuring complex and conflicted characters and a narrative style that is unusual. Well, that’s what the reviewers say.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

John: Never give up. Learn the craft and learn the business.

PJ: Wise words! What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

John: My web site, www.johndesjarlais.com. All other promo efforts point to it: media kits, radio and TV interviews, conference appearances, signings, social spaces, mailings, email blasts, ListServes, library and book fair talks, all that.  I think reviews are still important, including the ‘reviews’ posted by customers at retail sites like Amazon.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

John: The social spaces – Facebook, Twitter, Shoutlife, LinkedIn and so on – because they can take so much time without a measurable return.

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Centuries and Sleuths

John:Centuries and Sleuths” in Forest Park, IL, run by Augie Aleksy, is a great little

Booked for Murder

shop that has been a great friend to Chicago/Northern-Illinois area mystery writers. “Booked for Murder” in Madison, WI, owned by Sarah Barnes, is also a dreamy place.

PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

The Throne of Tara (historical stand-alone; Crossway 1990; rereleased 2000)

Relics (historical stand-alone; Thomas Nelson 1993; rereleased 2009)

BLEEDER (first in mystery series; Sophia Institute Press 2009)

VIPER (sequel to Bleeder; Sophia Institute Press 2011)

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

VIPER: Haunted by the loss of her brother to drugs and a botched raid that ended her career with the DEA, insurance agent Selena De La Cruz hoped to start afresh in rural Illinois. But her gung-ho former boss needs her back to hunt “The Snake,” a dealer she helped arrest who is out of prison and systematically killing anyone who ever crossed him. His ‘hit list’, appended to a Catholic Church’s All Souls Day ‘Book of the Deceased,’ shows Selena’s name last. Working against time, small town prejudice and the suspicions of her own Latino community, Selena races to find The Snake before he reaches her name on the list.

Where can we buy it?

As they say, “in bookstores everywhere” (at least by ordering a copy from there) as well as online venues such as Amazon.com or BN.com. It is not yet available as an ebook.

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

John: As you know, my protagonist is Selena De La Cruz. My desk has a lamp with a lampshade decorated by images of the late Tejana pop star Selena.

Thank you, John, for taking time to talk with us today. Readers – you’ll want to try out one of John’s books! And we look forward to seeing what you bring us next!

An interview with Diane Chamberlain

Diane Chamberlain writes some of the most intricate and interesting characters and relationships I’ve seen in many years. I’m honored to have worked with her and think you’ll really enjoy her writing if you’ve not read it before. Here’s what she has to share with us today:

How long have you been writing?

I started my first novel thirty years ago (!) but it wasn’t published until 1989. The Good Father is my 21st book.

At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

What an intriguing question! The number of times I felt successful in my early years as a published author were matched by the number of times I felt like a failure. I would say, though, that with the publication of my fifteenth novel, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, I truly started flying high. CeeCee was selected by Target as their summer Bookclub Pick, which allowed me to reach thousands of new readers. It’s hearing from readers who are touched by my books that really makes me feel like a success.

Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

Oh, this makes me laugh! I started out so long ago that I thought all I would have to do was write stories. That was hard enough, of course, but I had no idea I’d need to also become a master of promotion and social media. Still, Facebook and Twitter and blogging keep me close to my readers and that makes it worthwhile.

The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

I’ve had years where I’ve thought I’d need to go back to my previous career (clinical social work) and I’ve had years where I could handily manage the mortgage on my beach condo.  Neither extreme was what I expected. A writing career is always full of surprises!

Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

My focus has not changed all that much. I started writing because I wanted to entertain people and that’s still why I write. Of course, I hope to increase my readership with each book, but again, it all boils down to writing a story that grips the reader. That remains my focus.

How long did it take you to get published the first time?

It took me six months to get an agent and a year of rejections to realize I needed to completely overhaul the book. Once I did that, it sold right away.

Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

I have a fantastic agent. Prior to signing on with her, I truly didn’t understand how critical it is to have an excellent agent. If I had it to do over again, I would have changed agents many years sooner than I did.

Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

I wish I did a better job of “divvying up my time.” It’s a challenge. As far as the writing/rewriting/submitting goes, that has a natural progression and I just take one step after the other. The real challenge is balancing the writing with the other demands on our time: promotion, traveling, maintaining a website, keeping up with social media and taking care of ourselves and our families. I try to address those demands as soon as I think of them (which is why I’m answering these interview questions so quickly after receiving them!) so they don’t pile up and contribute to my stress level.

What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

Even though it was a very long time ago, I think the most exciting thing will always be winning the RITA award from the Romance Writers of America for my very first novel, Private Relations. I’ll never forget how it felt to hear my name called out. I was so shocked and thrilled.

What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

Nothing stands out as “the single most disappointing thing,” but I will say that in the early years, it was very painful to work hard on a book and then have the publisher pay little attention to it, getting out so few copies that the book’s failure was guaranteed. I have the rights back to many of those early books and have been able to make them available as e-books, so I guess I get the last laugh as those books are now finding an enthusiastic readership.

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

Years ago, I was doing a signing in a bookstore when two middle-aged men came into the store. They looked like they might be homeless–wearing ragged clothes and appearing unkempt. The bookstore owner was trying to figure out how to usher them out of the store, but the men approached me and held out a dogeared copy of my novel, Keeper of the Light. Joe and Lefty introduced themselves to me and told me they found the book a few years earlier, shared it with one another and loved the story. They were excited when they learned I’d be at the bookstore and asked if I’d sign the book for them. I was happy to do so and will never forget those two guys who really showed me that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

My readers tell me they feel as though they’re a part of the story, they empathize deeply with my characters and they stay up all night reading my stories. I can’t ask for more than that.

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Make sure your book is the best it can be. I think there’s a tendency with new writers to think that one or two drafts of a manuscript are sufficient. Books need tweaking and polishing. Get feedback from several honest friends and really listen to what they say.

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

A dynamite website is an absolute necessity. I used to think a website needed to entertain, but now I believe it needs to be a place readers can communicate with me as well as learn more about my books. My books are particularly popular in the United Kingdom and Australia, so I’ve created a special International Page for those readers, as well as a printable booklist to help readers keep track of pub dates, linked books, etc.

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Twitter. I am not a good tweeter. I love Facebook, however. More and more, the information on my website is migrating to my Facebook page.

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Quail Ridge Books

My two favorite indies are Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC and Quarter Moon Books in Topsail Beach, NC. I call them my “Q-Team”.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Here is the printable booklist on my website: http://dianechamberlain.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Chamberlain-Printable-Books-updated-4-2-12.pdf

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title: 

The Good Father: When a young single father loses his home and his job, he resorts to desperate action to provide for his little daughter.

Where can we buy it?

All bookstores, both bricks and mortar and online, should be carrying The Good Father. It’s also available for all e-readers.

Thank you, Diane, for taking the time. I hope lots of new readers discover the joy of reading the books you write for them!