Interview Transcripts

Lori Soard: Promoting on a Shoestring 11/30/07


Legend:
Questions from the Audience are presented in red.
Answers by the Speaker are in black.
The Moderator's comments are in blue.

Mary Rosenblum

Hello all.

 

Welcome to our Professional Connection live chat.

 

Tonight, we're going to be visiting with Lori Soard.

 

She's a writer, a home schooling mom, and a LR instructor.

 

Lori Soard has a Doctor of Philosophy in Journalism and Creative Writing. Her undergraduate degree was in English. She is the past President of 'From The Heart', RWA Chapter (1997-1999), and co-founder and 1st Chairperson of World Romance Writers (1999-2002). She has also served on the national board of Romance Writers of America and as Library Liaison for Romantic Times Magazine

 

She lives in the Midwest with her husband of fifteen years and her two daughters, Caitlin and Hailey. They have two cats, a Golden Retriever, and two miniature Dachshunds, Gretchun and Maya.

 

Her newest book: 'Finding Ms. Right' is available from Amber Quill Press and she has even published a cookbook!

 

You can visit her very nice website at: http://www.lorisoard.com/  

 

Hello, Lori, and welcome back!

Lori Soard

Hi, Mary. Hello everyone. I'm coming up on 18 years on the marriage thing. I need to update that on my bio J

Mary Rosenblum

No, kidding, wow! Congratulations in advance.

Lori Soard

Thanks. He's a wonderful man. I'm very lucky to have him.

Mary Rosenblum

I have to say I was intrigued by the cookbook! That's so cool! What inspired you to do that?

 

(Me, who has no time to cook!)

Lori Soard

I never had time to cook either, Mary, but I was sick of fast food .

 

I tried the freeze your food for a month.

 

That was a dismal failure.

 

Then I tried doing one week menus and that worked better.

 

The cookbook just sort of came from that whole system and is actually

 

more of a system than just a cookbook of how to

 

save time and money while feeding your family home cooked, nutritious meals.

Mary Rosenblum

Something every writer with a family needs!!! Did you publish it with a commercial press or self publish it?

Lori Soard

Most of my fiction is commercially published, but most of my nonfiction I do publish myself .

 

I found I make more money by doing so and if I want to donate copies I can.

 

It gives me the control to also change things as I come up with new ideas

 

find new websites, and so on.

Mary Rosenblum

Very cool, Lori!

genesis

What are your thoughts on self-publishing?

Lori Soard

Hi, Genesis, self-publishing can be great, especially for beginning writers.

 

I think the important thing with self-publishing is to do your research.

 

Know what is a good deal as far as costs.

 

What is included in the package you are purchasing?

 

And be realistic about how much you will make.

 

You will also have a to do a lot more self-promotion because

 

you won't have a publisher's marketing team behind you.

 

Some writer's groups do look down on self-publishing, but

 

I know writers who've done very well with it.

carm

What is the name of the cookbook?

Lori Soard

It's called WHAT'S FOR DINNER?

 

You can find it on my website :)

Mary Rosenblum

http://www.lorisoard.com/

Lori Soard

Thanks, Mary. Go to BOOKS

Mary Rosenblum

Lori, as the publishing dollar gets squeezed harder and harder, the big NY publishing houses are

 

not promoting much at all -- maybe an ad or three, and your books are distributed to the big chains. The publishing

 

pendulum is swinging to self publication and small press. And promotion is key since most chains won't carry self published or small press books.

 

So where do you start, Lori?

Lori Soard

That's an excellent question.

 

Even some of the big name authors are feeling the pain of this phenomenon.

 

I think the best place for new writers to start is locally.

 

When I first started, I took out a map

 

and I drew a circle of every town within driving distance.

 

I called small chains, I called grocery stores, I called libraries.

 

I went and talked anywhere they wanted me.

 

And my books did very well and I'm definitely not a big time author :)  

 

However

 

with the Internet world, it is so important to utilize that inexpensive form of promotion

 

and begin building a name for yourself.

 

Do chats.

 

There are tons and tons of websites for readers and writers and on every topic.

 

Just email the owner and ask if you can do a chat.

 

Send electronic copies out for review (if you are with a small press find out what their rules are and where they send for you) .

 

Use features like YouTube and MySpace to reach the younger audiences too.

 

And it's very important to have a basic website and mailing list.

 

There are free services, such as Geocities.com, if you're on a tight budget.

Mary Rosenblum

That's a very sound plan for a strong approach to self promotion, Lori. Do you do this for both your fiction and nonfiction?

Lori Soard

Mary, I do. My target markets might be different for fiction versus nonfiction, though.

 

For example, for my cookbook, I would be more likely to try to chat at sites that cater to

 

busy parents, working moms, home school moms, or moms in general.

 

Anyone who doesn't have time to cook or struggles to get everything done.

 

For an inspirational romance, I would target sites

 

geared toward romance readers or for Christian women.

 

It becomes really important to know your audience.

 

It is worth it to take the time to make a list of every potential market for your book.

 

Every concept or theme that the book focuses on.

 

Let's say one of your characters loves golf and is always playing golf

 

but it's a romance novel.

 

Women golfers might just be interested in your book.

 

So.

 

Can you do a chat for a site aimed at women golfers?

 

Just be really creative and open to different venues like this.

rae

Do you recommend self-publishing for non fiction only?

Lori Soard

Hi, Rae,

 

No, not at all.

 

I think there is a time and a place for self-publishing for any type of book.

 

Perhaps you've written a book that is a little outside the mainstream.

 

Or you wrote a book where the market is very, very tight and it's hard to break in.

 

You've had skilled critiquers give you feedback and edits.

 

You believe in this book with all your heart.

 

And maybe you even have a market in mind where you'll sell it.

 

Or…

 

Maybe you want to keep control of the book.

 

Or make more of a percentage on the sale of each book because

 

you have a built-in market.

 

There are a lot of reasons someone might decide to self-publish.

Mary Rosenblum

I do think that one has to be realistic about promotion and publication. If you don't promote that book and either have

 

a strong niche market (like those women golfers, say) or a strong hook, your book will vanish into a sea

 

of self published books that do include a lot of mediocrity. Readers can by shy about trying something self published.

Lori Soard

Absolutely, if you simply publish the book and never have a book signing, speech, online chat or any type of promotion, don't expect it to sell, because it likely won't.

 

I do think that readers are starting to come around more about the small press and self-published books, but because they aren't in stores.

 

If you don't promote, like Mary said, the reader just won't know about the book.

sailor

Is your self publishing arrangement POD? You said you can make changes any time you want. Is there a fee for updates in this arrangement?

Lori Soard

Hi, Sailor

 

The cookbook is something I published myself in e-book form. There are many POD publishers out there and

 

it can be a very cost effective way to get your book out there in paperback as well.

 

Because, I wanted to be able to do updates regularly (like adding some low-carb menus)

 

I didn't want to go paper with this one.

 

Many of the POD publishers

 

will charge you a fee to make changes.

 

It depends on the company, of course.

Mary Rosenblum

Let me say right now, that Lulu, a self publishing company, is an excellent choice for self publishing, with no upfront fees. They simply deduct the price of the book from each sale. You set the cover price.

Lori Soard

I should probably add that I used to be a publisher many years ago, so I know how to do PDF and all that. Lulu is a better option if you aren't familiar with the programs.

Mary Rosenblum

So, Lori, did you do the e-book entirely on your own then?

Lori Soard

Mary, yes, I did.

 

However, I did get some trusted critique partners

 

to hunt for typos or things that might not make sense to the reader.

 

That is vital because you will never catch all of your own typos

 

no matter how many times you read the book

 

Your mind will see it the way you meant for it to read in some cases.

Mary Rosenblum

Absolutely! My editor reads my mss for typos, a copy editor reads it, I read it .and a few still sneak in, sigh.

Lori Soard

I know! Happens all the time. I see it in books by NYT authors.

Mary Rosenblum

And one of the biggest xomplaints about many self pubbed or small press books is the lousy copy. Make yours shine!

quixote

Would you go about getting reviews? Then good reviews can be added to your promotion.

Lori Soard

Good advice, Mary. That will get you noticed by reviewers too.

 

Let me first say that

 

all reviews are good promotion.

 

It is true to a certain point that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

 

I once had a reviewer completely trash one of my books and get very personal

 

in her opinion .

 

It hurt for about five minutes and then I started getting emails from people

 

who had read the review and were writing to let me know that the reviewer was

 

"a meanie" as one fan put it (LOL) and they were buying my book.

 

To get the reviews, you really have to just start sending out emails to review sites and publications.

 

You'll want to search for sites that review the types of books that you write.

 

For example, Mary writers science fiction, so she probably wouldn't send her book to

 

a site that reviews self-help manuals

Mary Rosenblum

(Mostly likely not!)

Lori Soard

If you want some review sites, you can email me privately and I'll send you the list that I have

 

Lori_Soard@yahoo.com.

 

They may not fit with your book though.

 

Google is a great place to start.

 

As well as any writers' organization that are geared toward what you write.

Mary Rosenblum

Be warned that many reviewers won't review self published books that just arrive on their desks .

 

because so many are poor. And they get tons. So write a REALLY GREAT cover letter to go with it and hook that reviewer!

Lori Soard

Yes, good point, Mary. I think

 

it is really important to send a short email first.

 

It is almost a courtesy.

 

Include a cover letter with a blurb of your book.

 

If you have blurbs from a published author or

 

expert include those too.

Mary Rosenblum

Check for award competitions, too. Some are for self published books only.

 

Most will be open to small press published books.

 

Have you gone that route, Lori? Haven't you won some awards?

Lori Soard

Me and awards are sort of like oil and water.

 

I have won a few awards .

 

But

 

I usually crash and burn in contests LOL It's almost a joke amongst my writing friends.

 

I once had a judge tell me that the manuscript would be thrown in an

 

editor's trash can and I should do the same.

 

Blessedly, by the time I received her harsh critique, I had already sold the book..

 

However, contests can be a wonderful way to get your name out there.

 

If it is a contest with some prestige.

 

You can use that in your promotions.

 

Or when you query editors..

 

It's a springboard to better things, usually.

Mary Rosenblum

You mentioned offering to do chats for various websites. How do you find them?

Lori Soard

Good question, Mary.

 

I usually start by going to Google.

 

I do search terms.

 

It takes some browsing time but

 

once you have your list, you use it over and over for each book in that genre.

 

Next, I will post to my writing group loops and ask if anyone has suggestions

 

Then

 

I will go to places where writers hang out .

 

There are tons of them.

 

And check out the message boards and such for ideas .

 

There are also a few sites that will list sites that offer chats .

 

And there are many yahoo groups that have guest authors .

 

Again, it is time intensive at first

 

but once you start chatting, you will begin to receive invitations from others to chat .

 

It's almost like a snowball, gaining momentum as you go along and the more you chat.

Mary Rosenblum

So do you set up a schedule, like a routine, this much chat time every day, this much searching time?

Lori Soard

Oh, Mary …

 

You know me so well.

 

I am Miss Schedule.

 

I have one for everything.

 

What I do is spend a minimum of 15 minutes a day on promotion.

 

That means 15 minutes Googling for sites to chat

 

or 15 minutes sending out an email to my fans.

 

Then

 

I block out bigger blocks of time for the actual chats, such as this one.

 

Once you get published, you'll find that you spend

 

at least 1/3 as much time on promotion as on writing and more

 

when a book first comes out.

destiny8

Can you share examples of search terms you use?

 

Hi, Destiny.

 

It really varies, depending on the book.

 

But, for example

 

let's say I was going to try to promote

 

FINDING MS. RIGHT, my latest book.

 

The book is a sweet romance.

 

So

 

I might Google "Sweet+Romances".

 

I'll likely get a lot of dating sites so I might also Google

 

"Sweet+Romance+Novels".

 

After that

 

I would start to narrow it down to topics within the book .

 

Dating rules.

 

Old books.

 

Books set in Maine.

 

Widows Walk

 

and so on.

 

Not all of those searches are going to be fruitful.

 

It's really just a matter of trying different things and seeing what works.

 

It is a form of brainstorming and as you search for one term.

 

You may stumble across a site that gives you ideas

 

for other terms to search for.

 

I also try to chat with other writers.

 

Even though they are writers.

 

They are almost always also readers.

 

I know I read a lot! I'm currently reading THE PENNY by Joyce Meyer.

info

My wondering question is, some POD publishers that I've notice have within some of their package deals where they list with say Barnes and Noble or on Amazon.com. Does that mean these POD's do have at least limited promotions or do I still have to do most all the footwork to get the word out about my book?

Lori Soard

Hi, info.

 

You almost always have to do most of the promotions .

 

They will list your book on Amazon.

 

But that doesn't mean people will order the book .

 

The reader has to just happen to search for a term that pulls

 

your book up instead of the millions of others on Amazon.

 

And then the reader just has to happen to read the blurb, love it and buy the book.

 

It may happen occasionally

 

but you aren't going to get many sells that way.

 

Some B&N's

 

do have the POD machines in their stores, I think.

 

And the book can be printed or shipped there quickly.

 

It is easier for readers to order from B&N.

 

However, same thing.

 

You don't have shelf space and the reader is unlikely to order your book unless

 

she has heard about it elsewhere.

 

That is unlikely.

 

Unlikely she'll order unless she's heard, I mean.

katz

How important is it to have your own author website?

Lori Soard

Hi, Katz! How are you?

 

I personally think that it is vital.

 

However, I don't think you need to spend a lot of money on a website, at least initially.

 

You can use one of the free websites out there with an easy builder.

 

Let me explain why I feel the website is vital.

 

You should use your website to gain new readers and here is how.

 

Put your website on your personal checks.

 

Put it in your Christmas cards you send out .

 

Put it on your business card.

 

Put it in the signature line of your email.

 

Put a business card in with any bill you send back to any company.

 

Hey, they put the ads in when they send them to you!

 

Hand out cards to every person you meet .

 

If you're like me, you meet a lot of people in your life.

 

I have met people on airplanes, in coffee shops,

 

waiting at doctor's and dentist's offices

 

through casual meetings while out with friends

 

and on and on.

 

As soon as they say, "Oh! You're an author?"

 

hand them the card and tell them you'd love to have them visit your website and email you what they think.

 

This is how you start to build your fan base.

 

It sounds slow doesn't it?

 

But the truth is that they will tell others if they like your book.

 

And again.

 

We get into the promotion snowball --

 

1 new fan can equal 5 new fans and so on.

 

You can get inexpensive, nice looking business cards

 

at VistaPrint.com.

Mary Rosenblum

The term these days is 'viral marketing' .word of mouth, speeded by the internet.

Lori Soard

Yes, Mary. And there are some good free resources on that idea if you "Google" it. Can you tell I like Google? :)

charie'

Take those cards on vacation. I met an author from Maine on vacation in NC.

Lori Soard

Good advice, Charie. Take them everywhere!

copper

When you send the email with the cover letter and the blurb to a reviewer, do you include it in the email or use attachments? What's the etiquette?

Lori Soard

Hi, Copper

 

I should clarify to send emails to ONLINE reviewers. Print reviewers, check their submission guidelines

 

they may be different.

 

I would not use attachments .

 

Some editors will not open them.

 

Just put it all in the body of the letter and if they want the e-copy of your book, you can then send an attachment.

Mary Rosenblum

Good point about the attachment. I never open attachments from someone who is not sending me something I asked for or expect.

Lori Soard

Me either, Mary. It's a safety issue.

geezer

Idea: When you get an e-mail chain letter where you are supposed to put your name on the bottom, include your website!

Lori Soard

LOL Geezer. That's hilarious.

 

Not sure it would gain you a fan, though ;)

quixote

Do you travel as well?

Lori Soard

Quixote, I used to travel a lot and really do some long distance book signings and speeches

 

However, I realized that it wasn't really making an impact on my book sales as compared

 

to doing book signings and stuff closer to home.

 

I do still do talks when they cover expenses

 

or if it is for a very good cause but my rule of thumb is within 100 miles of home.

 

The exception  is

 

Ii I am in the area anyway.

 

Or going to a conference in the area.

 

Or visiting family in the area.

 

I really hate being separated from my kids for any length of time

 

So I also consider if I can take them with me and now that we home school

 

it isn't always feasible for me to be away from them, because not only do I have to find

 

childcare

 

I have to find a substitute teacher LOL.

Mary Rosenblum

That is a consideration! :-)

tonya fleming

Hi, Lori how do I get my book on the shelves?

Lori Soard

Hi, Tonya

 

That one is a little hard to answer.

 

Some publishers will automatically work to get your books

 

placed on the shelves.

 

It will depend on the line you are published with

 

the publisher, and so on .

 

Your best bet if you are with a smaller press

 

is to start with the book signings in your area.

 

Ask them to order a few extras and you will sign them so they can put them on the shelf

 

for those who were not able to make it to the signing.

 

Also

 

you can try to send out materials to booksellers and get them to order your book.

 

However, I have to be honest and say that I have not found this to be very effective.

 

When I had my author promotion groups

 

we would send out booklets and materials every 3 or 4 months.

 

Sometimes we did get a good response from the smaller booksellers.

 

So I started to target my mailings .

 

These are the independent bookstores.

 

Sometimes the small used bookstores (yes they will carry a few new books)

 

and specialty stores.

 

However, these are really starting to be few and far between as the big guys gobble them up.

 

I would focus on building my fan base.

 

Selling locally .

 

Getting my books in the libraries in my state.

 

Your best bet is to gain so many readers that the bigger publishers can't afford not to

 

publish your book and then you will be on the shelves.

 

I wish there were a magic formula, but that's my best and most realistic

 

advice.

 

The majority of books will not be available on the shelves, especially places like

 

Wal-mart, where they carry mainly the top sellers.

Mary Rosenblum

Here's a tip for you. Those small mailing outlets -- the Postal Annex type -- often feature local arts and crafts and may be happy

 

to offer you space to display and sell your books. Two have actually asked me to do so and promote them proudly. The owner usually takes some money

 

from the sale, but people come in and out daily. And you don't have much competition there.

Lori Soard

Mary, what a great idea. Jotting that one down. I haven't tried it :)

zave

At what point during the process do you start promoting?

Mary Rosenblum

Do you wait until the book is done, Lori?

Lori Soard

Zave I know this is going to shock you.

 

You are all going to be very surprised that I

 

Miss Schedules

 

and Miss Lists

 

Wait until I have a release date

 

And then

 

I

 

Gasp!

 

Set up a promotional schedule.

 

LOL.

 

Seriously, though

 

I start promoting about three months out for most books.

 

This is when I start contacting reviewers.

 

Some people will tell you six months

 

but I have found that when I do that, the reviews come out before the book comes out.

 

And then I don't get optimum promotion because the book is not yet available.

 

I get fewer sales.

 

Then, about two months out

 

I start lining up online chats

 

and contacting my list of local spots for signings,

 

Talks,

 

Etc.

 

I also line up any radio interviews .

 

I do have a promotional gal that helps me with some of this at this point.

 

But I didn't early on.

 

About one month out

 

I write a few articles related to the book in some way and offer them to websites.

 

This is another way you can gain a bit of promotion.

 

And two weeks before, I start to tell my fans that I have a book coming out.

.

So I start about three months out and take specific steps each time.

charie'

What do you mean by "out"? Three months before release, or after release?

Lori Soard

Hi, Charie

 

Sorry, I mean BEFORE the release :)

quixote

There are some writers that begin promoting their 'work in progress' , on their web site - bad idea?

 

Quixote, that is a personal decision.

 

Some writers are worried someone might take their idea.

 

It is always a possibility but it is actually fairly rare that this happens.

 

And, the moment you put your words in print, they are "copyrighted"

 

although there are a lot of finer points that have to do with

 

registration with the Library of Congress and your rights to seek damages.

 

However, most writers have so many of their own ideas that they have no need to steal yours

 

and those who don't and would steal your work often can't complete the story.

 

Someone without integrity..

 

who will steal your work

 

will not succeed in the end.

 

Also …

 

You have to consider if a publisher

 

is going to want to publish your work

 

if it is has already been "published" on your website.

.

In this case, it has actually already been published

 

And I would always be honest with a publisher about this.

 

Not only because they might find out and it would harm your relationship, but  

 

it is the right thing to do.

 

Now

 

I do think that putting your work out there, especially in serialized form  

 

can be extremely effective as a marketing tool .

 

However, my opinion is that it should be an older work that you have the rights back to.

 

Or something you don't plan to send to a publisher for whatever reason .

 

A serialized novel can gain you subscribers

 

if it is on a list .

 

Or bring visitors back to your website again and again

 

to see the latest installment.

 

So, there are times when it is a good idea. Fan fiction might be another instance :).

Mary Rosenblum

You'd better be honest with the publisher! The first thing an editor will do is google your name! If you have posted that work somewhere, it's going to pop up on google.

Lori Soard

Let me add this.

 

Even if you think to yourself that you might just remove it real quick that won't work.

 

There are websites that actually archive old web pages. It is just best to be honest and upfront :)

Mary Rosenblum

Thank you, Lori. I think a lot of folk don't realize that stuff persists on the internet.

jo lee

How do you go about getting into the libraries?

 

I had the pleasure of working with many librarians when I helped Kathryn as her library liaison.

 

I asked them this same question.

 

Their response was that they need to see several things before their interest is tweaked.

 

Because they see so many ads for different books

 

and they have a limited budget to work with .

 

And districts are tightening budgets every day.

 

Anyway

 

here is, in general, what the librarians told me.

 

They need to see an ad for the book.

 

This can be a flyer from the author,

 

a personal letter,

 

a fax,

 

a postcard,

 

or an ad in a librarian magazine.

 

Next, they need to see a review of the book.

 

Again, they read a lot of different review magazines and such.

 

If you get a great review

 

I would include it with your flyer or other advertising material :)

 

Next, they need to have at least one patron request the book (sometimes it is more--every library has a different policy).

 

Now

 

sometimes they will just order a book because it looks interesting, without the requests.

 

So I would take a three prong approach to getting my book in the libraries.

 

I would get a great review or two.

 

Send a flyer or other advertising along with copies of the review(s) to a specific librarian.

 

And I would ask my family, friends and fans to request the book when they are at the library.

 

Also, if you live in the area, be sure to tell them as they will almost always order a book by a local author.

Mary Rosenblum

Good advice, Lori!

bluesky

Have you ever done TV or radio interviews? Or is that something only big selling authors get?

Lori Soard

Hi, bluesky

 

You can definitely get TV and radio interviews, but don't expect to go on Regis and Kelly or Oprah necessarily

 

although I always believe that anything is possible in this life and sometimes God works in mysterious ways.

 

I have done both TV and radio.

 

TV through local cable channel.

 

There are many shows on these channels because

 

they have to offer so much free time.

 

I forget the exact rule, but there isn't a huge viewing audience.

 

But it's an audience and good experience.

 

Some local news stations may also do pieces on local authors from time-to-time.

 

So let them know you are available if you're comfortable in front of a camera.

 

As for radio

 

this is much more ope

 

Also

 

with the Internet radio broadcasting through sites like Live365 and other Internet radio stations

 

there are many markets that are hungry for guests.

 

You can also record your own interview (just be honest and don't try to make it sound like you're a guest on some show LOL).

 

Let a friend interview you and podcast it from your site.

 

You can add it to different sites where MP3 users can download your podcast .

 

I've gained some new fans this way.

 

Also, consider doing your own YouTube trailer for your book.

 

It can be a lot of fun and it gets your name out there.

 

Many of these things may build slowly over time.

 

But eventually, you'll have a significant reader base.

 

Also

 

be sure that you try to get their contact info and get them

 

to join your mailing list when you reach new fans.

 

Then you can stay in touch and let them know when a new book comes out.

charie'

I've seen some local authors on local PBS shows.

Lori Soard

Yes, that is another good resource. Send them a letter letting them know your specialty and that you're available.  I'd also send a press kit.

tonya fleming

Lori does review mean 3 sample chapters of the book?

Mary Rosenblum

Want to explain the review process, Lori?

Lori Soard

Hi, Tonya. We were talking about when you send a book that has already been either contracted or published to a reviewer so that they can offer basically a critique of your book.

 

Sort of like when the reviewers tell us whether they like a movie or not :) Does that answer your question?

 

And you send the whole book once they request it..

forest elf

What about XM Radio? They interview writers on Sonic Theater

Lori Soard

Hi, Forest elf. Cute screen name! I have not had a chance to really check out the XM radio yet, but that sounds like an

 

excellent resource and I have it on my list to look at after the first of the year. I'm trying

 

to finish a book at the moment and on a time crunch.

 

I wouldn't hesitate to let them know I was available to be interviewed.

 

And send them a press release and info on what you can speak on.

 

How will they know you want to be on there, if you don't contact them, right?

 

And the worst thing anyone can ever say is no.

 

Okay, it's not the worst.

 

Sometimes people are really mean.

 

But they might just say yes, so it's worth a try.

Mary Rosenblum

So, Lori, what is in your press kit? What do you send out and where do you send it?

Lori Soard

My press kit has the following:

 

Biography page.

 

Photograph (I usually send black and white).

 

Book List Page that lists all my books and a few of my more recent articles.

 

Recent press release telling what I'm doing as a writer.

 

A couple of book cover flats (if it's an e-book, just print the cover out on glossy photo paper).

 

I put it all

 

inside a glossy folder that has a spot for a business card on one of the pockets.

 

I add the business card.

 

It also has a sample of my writing.

 

It will vary, depending on who and what I'm targeting.

 

Might be an excerpt from the book .

 

Might be an article or two.

 

I also try to include some blurbs from other authors or review blurbs.

 

I do try to customize the press kits but if I get very busy, may not .

 

Always have a couple on hand that you can send out if you get a request .

 

Also

 

do not just send out a bunch of press kits.

 

They are expensive and likely to get tossed.

 

Instead, send those cover letters and let them know you can send a press kit on request.

 

Except for a case such as a local television station, where I would go ahead and send it out to them usually .

 

You have to learn to gauge the likelihood of return,

 

which you'll learn with experience and the more times you send out queries for promotion

 

and whether it is worth the investment of sending the full kit.

forest elf

Most of this you can print yourself   or at a Kinkos?

Lori Soard

Yes..I once paid my PR gal to do a press kit for me and it was beautiful.

 

But they ran me almost $20 a piece.

 

That's too pricey for me.

 

It adds up quickly.

 

I used most of her concepts though

 

so it was worth the initial investment of seeing how it was put together and what items were included.

 

Now I do my own.

 

I have a file that says PRESS RELEASE ITEMS.

 

I open that folder and everything is in it and can be printed from my desktop.

 

Like I said, I keep a couple of folders already made up.

 

And when I send one out

 

I just print out another and have it ready to go..

 

I buy the glossy folders at the office supply for around $1 each.

 

I get my biz cards from Vista Print.

 

I do get copies of my photograph printed, so they look nice and the same for the cover flats.

 

The rest I just print on high quality paper.

Mary Rosenblum

Print your cover flat on photographic paper after you crop it, and it'll look quite professional, Lori.

Lori Soard

I'll try that, Mary. Sounds easy enough :)

Mary Rosenblum

The fancy Kodak paper is pricey but cheaper than a professional printer.

writeaway

Hi Lori, what do you usually put on your business cards?

Lori Soard

Hi, Writeaway.

 

I used to mainly advertise my most recent release, but then I realized that the release would

 

be out of shelf life.

 

And I'd still have 200 business cards sitting in a drawer.

 

Now, I put my name in bold.

 

My tag line, which is CUTTING EDGE WRITING (goes with Soard, which is pronounced Sword).

 

And I add what I do, which is articles, inspirational novels, etc.

 

I put my website on there and my PO Box.  I do not put my telephone number on there, because I give them to strangers.

tonya fleming

Lori, what is a cover flat?

Lori Soard

Tonya,

 

When a printer

 

publishes your book

 

the cover starts out flat and is then folded around the inside, which is the actual pages.

 

You'll notice

 

if you look at a book .that the cover is all one piece.

 

A flat is simply that entire cover (front, back and spine), all flattened out on a sheet of paper.

 

Although, I don't always send the entire thing.

.

I often will just send the front of the cover, but am just in the habit of calling it a flat :)

Mary Rosenblum

Lori, before we run out of time, quick! Promote yourself, girl! Tell us about the newest book!

Lori Soard

Thanks, Mary

 

Well, my latest book is an inspirational romance called FINDING MS. RIGHT

 

It is about what happens when two people are not honest with each other

 

but play games.

 

The heroine has an old book about how to wed a rich man.

 

And the hero has a book about finding Ms. Right .

 

Needless to say the two books are in complete opposition to one another.

 

It puts them both in some pretty funny situations but in the end

 

they do find love in spite of the horrid advice in both books.

 

It is available at Amazon,

 

You can go to Amberquill.com and search for me under Authors I write under my real name Lori Soard.

Mary Rosenblum

So about the cookbook is that a download? Can I read it on my computer?

Lori Soard

Mary, yes, it is a download. You can read it or print it. I advise people to print it out and put it in a 3-ring binder, because

 

there are worksheets in there to help you plan your own meals that YOUR family will love.

 

And you can always print extras of just those worksheet pages.

Mary Rosenblum

Lori, you have been a great guest and give people some very detailed and thorough advice about self promotion.

Lori Soard

I hope it helps.

Mary Rosenblum

This was a great conversation!

genesis

Thanks, it helped me.

Lori Soard

Awww shucks

 

I'm so glad, Genesis. If anyone has questions, they can email me too. I love to help new writers. I don't promise to always be the fastest emailer in the world, but I will respond.

writeaway

This has been very informative. Thanks, Lori and Mary.

destiny8

Thx, Lori

Mary Rosenblum

This is really a critical topic because only the author promotes these days.

sss1208

Thanks it helped me too

Lori Soard

Yes, and it will likely get tighter in that area with the publishers consolidating.

Mary Rosenblum

Lori, next time you need a nonfiction project, I suggest you do a book on self promotion

 

including things like podcasting.

Lori Soard

I'm actually working on one, Mary. It's called Promotion Snowball

katz

I learned a lot of new things. Thanks!

tonya fleming

Thanks, Lori

Mary Rosenblum

Oh, I love it! Send me a review copy when you're ready and I'll review it in the LR newsletter.

Lori Soard

It will probably be done sometime next spring.

 

I'll do that :)

Lori Soard

You're so welcome, Tonya. Good to see you here :)

Mary Rosenblum

Thank you, Lori and I will certainly invite you back! :-)

 

Thank you all for coming.

Lori Soard

Thanks again, Mary

 

Thanks everyone. It was great chatting!

Mary Rosenblum

Good night all, and I'll see you Sunday at our casual chat.

 

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