Crystal Reavis recently published her book through a small publisher. Learn more about her marketing methods and the important words of advice she has for new authors.
1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
My book is a fantasy set in our world. It’s the first book in my series. Areal, my main character, is a paralegal who begins to have strange things happen to her. A man calls her and tells her she is being watched; soon after she begins to see people with black eyes, people watching her at her house. She also starts to meet new people who may not be what they seem. She learns angels and demons exist and that she may play a big role in their war for the world.
What motivated me to write it was my husband. I have been writing for years and never published anything. He told me he would love for me to pursue writing as a career. I figured I was already writing and had the time, so why not? Literally a few days later I had the idea for this series. I wrote the book we are talking about, Areal, in about four months. I just fell in love with it and couldn’t leave it for very long.
2. How have your sales been?
My sales are climbing. I sold about 11 books in the first month (not great), but I am picking up momentum. Many of my readers are waiting for a signed copy and I am working on getting those out. Once the signed copies are sent out I will have sold about 50-60 books. I am slowly getting better sales.
3. You published your book with a small publisher. What made you choose traditional publishing over indie or self-publishing?
I am not sure what made me go that route other than just deciding to give it a try. I was planning on self-publishing but another author told me about Breaking Rules Publishing. I emailed them and told them about myself and my book. They expressed interest and I sent them my unfinished manuscript. They said that based on what I already had they wanted to publish it.
4. How would you describe your publishing experience so far?
It was a pretty painless experience. When I found my publisher I already had an editor set up and was waiting for my manuscript. Once it was edited my publisher took care of everything and we have been marketing it together ever since. All in all, I would say it’s been an amazing experience.
5. Talk a little more about the sort of marketing and networking techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
So far I have shared my book on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. We are in the process of getting me on radio stations and in local newspapers. I have a book signing coming up and there are people requesting that I be put in the local library system. I also market myself and my book through my blog. So far I would say social media has been my best marketing tool. That is how I got a following before my book was released and where most of my sales, including the pending ones, are coming from.
6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I haven’t found any marketing techniques I have avoided or discontinued because what I have been doing seems to be working out pretty good.
7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I would say how much marketing is actually involved. Even with a publisher I probably spend 4-6 hours a day marketing my book. This includes phone calls, emails, posting to social media, talking to my readers, talking to other authors, making marketing materials (I do this in conjunction with my publisher). It is a lot of work and it is hard work.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I would have researched just a bit more on all that is involved. I did a lot of research but still had a lot to learn when I got published. I’m still learning and growing four months later. It is a very involved process.
9. New authors face the obvious challenge of publicizing their work, whether they go the indie or traditional publishing route. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
I would say that no matter what route you choose to publish, you should research, ask questions, research some more, and make sure that whatever you choose is right for you and your book. Always double check any information you are given and never settle. If a publisher wants to work with you, look them up, get reviews from authors who published with them, and see what they have to say. If you self-publish, learn all you can and talk to other indie authors; they will be able to give you so much insight. Also, no matter how you choose to publish, it will be a lot of work so be prepared to work, work, work to get your book marketed.
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the second book in my series. The first draft is almost finished; I only have 6-8 chapters to go, so I am about to do some revisions and rough editing. After that will begin the editing process with my editor. I am also making an outline of the third book because I want to start on that as soon as the second book is getting published. My goal is to have the first drafts of every book done by the end of the coming year! I am just excited about this series and enjoy working on it very much.
11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
An exciting fantasy writer who loves adding supernatural influences to our world.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
Thank you so much for the interview opportunity! I really appreciate it!