An effective book marketing campaign appeals to readers on a fundamental level and crosses the usual boundaries. Even if the genre doesn't interest a person, the author's objective is to leave the person with an impression of professionalism and quality. If it does, then the goal is to move them to learn more about your work until they are convinced to purchase. Maggie Tideswell, the South African author of Dark Moon published 2011 by All Things That Matter Press, offers insight to the process of marketing her novel in this interview with Peevish Penman. She has been writing off and on for 20 years.
PPM: Do you use a persona to promote your work?
The way I see promotion is similar to branding. You have to create your brand and my brand is my name, Maggie Tideswell.
PPM: As authors, our writing style is often influenced by others, but can you identify anyone who has inspired how you market your work?
PPM: It sounds like you started promoting later than you wanted. When did you decide how you would market Dark Moon?
Maggie: I was going to have a big publishing house with an experienced marketing team to do it for me, wasn't I? I never thought about marketing. But the face of publishing has changed radically and these days, even if your work is snapped up by a big traditional publisher, it is up to the author to market the book. The competition is fierce out there - I always say that this business of book promotion is not for sissies. And like most artists, money is always a problem. One could hire a publicist to handle marketing for you, but it is so expensive that I could not afford it. What I did do, and this is a great marketing tool and well worth the cost, was to have a promotional book trailer made professionally.
PPM: What other publications have you completed?
Maggie: Dark Moon was my debut novel and my second, titled Moragh, will be released later this year. The biggest challenge in the life of any novel is finding somebody who believe in it enough to publish it without it costing you a dime. If the book is good, there will be a publisher out there who will publish it. It might take a while to find the right publisher, but if you are diligent in your search, you will.
PPM: How did you feel when you first saw the trailer for Dark Moon?
Maggie: I was thrilled! It is one thing holding the actual book in your hands for the first time - a moment all writers dream of - but to see your dreams transformed into a mini movie, was an indescribable feeling.
PPM: Is Dark Moon a book you can judge by its cover?
Maggie: Yes, definitely. I wanted the elements in the book on the front cover so that people looking at it, could see at a glance what they were going to get. The cover should be a summary of the book, and with Dark Moon, I think we have achieved that.
PPM: Is there anything you've learned about promoting Dark Moon that you can apply to Moragh when it will be released?
Yes, I have learnt not to be so protective of my writing and to talk to people about it. Previously, I never used to tell people about my stories - not even that I was writing them - but if nobody knows about a book, they can't look for it and buy it. And word of mouth is the best marketing tool.
PPM: If you could go back to any point over the past 20 years that you've been writing and give yourself advice (something self-promotion related), what would it be?
I would let people know that I am a writer. I would ask more people to read and comment, instead of keeping it all to myself and not allowing anybody to see any part of it. It is important to have a set of beta readers whose opinion you trust.