1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
My latest book, 100 Things to do in Fort Collins before You Die, is a travel guide. It lists 100 places and things people can do in and around Fort Collins, CO. I had written other
books similar to this one, but about Oklahoma and Oklahoma City. Reedy Press, which is my publisher, actually came to me and asked me to write it. They were familiar with my other books and thought I might be a good fit to write this one.
2. How have your sales been?
I am pleased to say sales for this book have been steady despite the challenges we have faced because of COVID-19 and then most recently having to evacuate because of wildfires in our area. We’ve had to move and reschedule book signings, but overall, sales are good.
3. You’ve used both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which do you prefer, and what are the pros and cons of each?
I have worked with several different traditional publishers over the years like Globe Pequot, Writer’s Digest Books, Reedy Press and others. They all offer different perspectives on projects that I do and I appreciate their editorial, art, and marketing expertise. With self-publishing you have to find someone to edit your projects and if you have artwork you want to include, an artist.
Of course, marketing is marketing. An author has to be able to invest time, energy, and money regardless, but a traditional house can point you in a myriad of directions you might not have thought about.
4. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
As I have written several other books, I have done book signings, have a website, a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. While I thought I knew a lot about marketing, I specifically took this last book assignment because of the marketing path Reedy Press has their authors travel. I have learned a great deal from them and as I am growing my editorial, proofreading, and author platforms, I really wanted to dig into the marketing aspect.
Over the many years of my writing career, one thing I have learned is you never stop learning. My mentor told me that when I first started out in the business.
5. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
I think an author needs to use every marketing technique available. I send out press releases, do interviews (radio, television, newspaper (print and electronic), online interviews (like this one), book signings, hand out bookmarks, and do mail-outs. Word-of-mouth, via various forms of social media, is essential to spread the word about your book. If people don’t know it’s available, they can’t buy it.
6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or
discontinued, and if so, why?
When I published my first book, I took out a newspaper ad. I believe I got one sale from that, so I haven’t done that again. It seemed cost prohibitive. In my humble opinion, a press release can get you more exposure than an ad. If you write it correctly, it can run as a news-type article. I have written press releases not only for myself, but other authors, that get printed in their entirety as articles.
7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I have learned through the years that writing the book is only the beginning of the process. I feel that once the book is written is when the real work begins. If you self-publish, you have to approve the cover, the editing, and the print run. If you traditionally publish, once the final edits are done, you start writing press releases, ordering bookmarks, and start calling bookstores to set up book signings. You’ll want to do the latter as well if you self-publish after you get everything else done. Writing the book is the easy part.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I think one thing I’d do differently is be more playful, not only in my writing, but in my approach to marketing. If someone is going to make writing and publishing a full-time career, you have to have fun with it. Don’t get so bogged down in the rules that everyone else follows, that you lose your creativity.
In the writing and publishing world, you are an entity unto yourself. I always tell my students, do it “your way.” Yes, listen to advice, but in the end, you are the boss of your career. If self-publishing is right for you, do it. If you want to get published by a traditional publisher, keep sending out those queries and your manuscripts. Someone will eventually pay attention to your work.
9. New authors face the challenge of getting their books into the hands of readers. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
Don’t give up. Try different approaches and techniques for marketing your book. Depending on what it is, an ad might be appropriate. Just because it hasn’t worked for my books, doesn’t mean it won’t work for yours.
Publishing is always in a state of change. What worked today, might not work tomorrow, and vice versa. If you feel your project is worth a readership, do everything you can to get it in front of readers. If you want to write, write and don’t let anything or anybody stop you.
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
I am one of those weird ducks…or so I’ve been told. I write fiction and non-fiction. I am currently working on a fiction book set in the medieval time period and a non-fiction motivational book for young women. I’m also throwing in some articles, press releases and a column. I continue to teach classes on marketing, the writing process itself, and promotion. I’ve moved those online so anybody, anywhere, can attend.
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?
I will continue to inspire, motivate, and encourage people through my writing and the types of writing I do.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
Readers can learn more about my books by visiting my website at www.deborahbouziden.com or by visiting Amazon. Authors may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about my editorial, marketing, and promotional services, and about classes I teach throughout the year. I am available to answer publishing questions through that email as well.