R.L. Walker believes authors should start early in their marketing efforts. Learn which networking techniques she’s used to get her books into readers’ hands.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
My latest book, Kai’s Secret, is about a Navajo girl, Kai, who gets an internship to help discover her heritage. While she was working at the museum, she discovered that artifacts were being stolen and that she had the ability to shape shift into a hawk. She must use her abilities to stop the thief as she uncovers that there is a connection between the artifacts’ disappearance, the pipeline, and her parents’ disappearance years ago.
I was motivated by current events and my own experiences working on an archaeological dig site. I wanted to help more with the plight of the Native Americans and the pipeline going through their land. I thought that by writing about a reservation that was going through something similar more people might show more empathy towards their situation.
2. How have your sales been?
My sales are better than I expected, but not quite where I would like to be to make a living off my writing. I sell more in person at book signings and when I get media coverage. Sales seem to go hand in hand with promotions and media attention. However, it is hard to balance my job, writing new stories, and sending out press releases.
3. You’ve gone the self-publishing route. Have you sought an agent or any work with traditional publishers? If not, why not? If so, what has been your experience with traditional publishing?
I have sent out a few query letters, but have not spent a ton of time trying to find a publisher or agent. I like the freedom that self-publishing gives you. You can write about things that you want to and not have things edited out due to a publisher’s demands.
4. What are some of the pros and cons of self-publishing?
The pros of self-publishing are that you can control what is put into your work and what you want to write about. The cons are that you have to do all your own marketing.
5. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I have done a bit of social media networking with local authors and self-published authors through Facebook and Instagram, along with doing in person networking with local libraries and book stores. The more networking I do, the more sales I have, and the more I learn about new ways to promote, advertise, and about more author events. As an author it is so important to network and as you network you find more ways to network. Start small and it won’t be so overwhelming.
6. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
Some of the more successful marketing that I have done is free book giveaways, getting into local media outlets, and reaching out to the local community. I have tried Facebook ads with marginal success. I have more success doing video readings and sharing them with various Facebook groups.
7. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I have discontinued using Facebook ads.
8. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
If you want readers, then you need to find the time to get your book out there!
9. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I wish that I would have used a professional editing service for my first book and taken more time in the editing process.
10. New authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books, whether they go the indie or traditional publishing route. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
Start finding a fan base and media coverage immediately. The more you market your books early, the more success you will have. Find ways to get fans and get media to do stories before you even finish. Generate a buzz to get people excited about your books. I know it seems daunting to do it before you finish your book, but you will reap more success.
11. What other projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the sequel to The Disappearing Act: Carousel Crimes called Crimival and plan to release it this spring.
12. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
Mystery adventures that entertain, intrigue, and inspire young people to be heroes.
13. How can readers learn more about your books?