I met Beth Kallman Werner when we both spoke on the Marketing 101 panel at the Self-Publishing Book Expo this past November in New York City. The Founder and President of Author Connections, Beth has been a professional editor and marketer for 20 years. She has worked on book marketing and special media projects with Random House, Penguin, Hachette, MacMillan, Chronicle, Scholastic, FSG, Wiley, and many others. She has also counseled countless indie authors on how to successfully bring new titles to market.
In a nut shell, she seemed like a smart cookie to me, as well as the kind of editor a writer would feel comfortable with. In this interview, Beth covers what it takes to get your book out there, and how to do it successfully.
Jennifer Bowen: Hi Beth! Can you tell me about Author Connections and how it got started?
Beth Kallman Werner: After 20 years editing and multimedia marketing in various industries, in 2008 I became Director of Marketing and Sales for Kirkus, and learned first-hand about the needs and marketing challenges of authors and publishers. Author Connections is a company I started in 2010 to serve those needs with training, guidance, platform development, custom promotion roadmaps, and soup to nuts professional editing.
JB: At the panel at the Self-Publishing Expo, you discussed the four ‘P’s’ as the key points of Marketing oneself. Can you elaborate?
BKW: Product: What is the hook, key benefit or distinguishing advantage to your book?
Position: Who is the target audience and how will you best place this book in front of them?
Price: What is the sweet spot for each edition and selling point to provide best value and maintain healthiest possible margins?
Promotion: What are your goals? (short term and long term, professional and personal, financial vs. creative, etc.) Based on goals, preferences, resources, experience, capabilities, and many realistic factors, build a platform with layers to achieve objectives and support the title or author brand successfully. Layers may include a wide variety of communication and media options.
JB: What are the common pitfalls you see new authors make?
BKW: Not planning in advance. Not scheduling a budget and flexible, realistic timeline. Not paying attention to editing and proofreading and overall product quality, professional cover design, formatting and production. It takes many skills and standards to produce an excellent book and bring it to market. If authors do not take their books seriously, do not expect readers to.
JB: When should someone get started when they think they want to self-publish in terms of tackling a marketing strategy? And what steps should they take?
BKW: Start planning a rough marketing strategy as you write. Be true to your vision, but consider who you are writing for. How will your book stand out in its genre? What makes it different? Worthy of people’s precious time and money? These can be hard questions, but important to consider and answer. Set up social media pages and broad timeline 10-12 months ahead of launch. Get busy on social media at least 6 months prior to launch. Publish with an audience already anticipating the book.
JB: On your website you mention the ways to increase book sales, can you elaborate on that?
BKW: A platform is the structure of layers on which you stand to promote your book and author brand. This may include a variety of communication/engagement methods particular to each title, author, readership – possibly including but not limited to: print advertising, online advertising, blogging, SEO, social media, events and appearances, readings and signings, direct mail, reviews, trailers, podcasts, widgets, PR, giveaways, book clubs, etc.
JB: Thanks Beth! I sure learned a lot myself.
To find out more information on Author Connections and how they can help, visit their website: www.authorconnections.com