I’ll end this series of interviews Intrigue Publishing employees with Sandra Bowman, the company’s marketing director. Like Austin Camacho, the editorial director, Sandra is also an author and has been marketing her own books for years.
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TeleRead: You’re the marketing director for Intrigue Publishing, and you’re also an author. What do authors most need to know about marketing themselves?
Sandra Bowman: What they need to know is that they must continue to put in the work. Most authors believe that if they get published, they will get all of their marketing done for them. Not true! Most of the time, even with big publishers, the author is still responsible for almost 65 percent of their own marketing.
TeleRead: What’s been your biggest marketing challenge?
Sandra Bowman: Granted, I don’t know everything there is to know about marketing, but I am pretty good at it. People assume that I don’t know what I’m talking about when I offer suggestions or opinions on how to be more successful.
TeleRead: And your biggest marketing success?
Sandra Bowman: My biggest marketing success would be going to conferences and sitting in classes, like I did last week at ThrillerFest, and being told that I am doing “Exactly what is needed to be done for authors.” That was a huge confidence builder for me!
TeleRead: Is there a difference in marketing your book as an independently-published versus a self-published author?
Sandra Bowman: I don’t think so. I think it’s all about putting yourself in front of as many people as possible without being pushy. I think indie authors and self-published authors need to remember they are still going up against the big names in the writing community.
TeleRead: You’re also involved with the Creatures, Crime and Creativity Conference. How have your book marketing skills translated to marketing a conference?
Sandra Bowman: I think my skills as a book marketing agent is helping us realize that there are more opportunities to reach more people in many different ways. Actually, it is also helping me see that marketing a conference is much like marketing yourself as an author. You need to stand out as much as possible and in doing so, you can be more recognizable.
TeleRead: And what about social media? Do authors need to have a social media presence? If so, where? And how much of their time should they plan to devote to it?
Sandra Bowman: That’s a great question. Authors definitely need to be on some form of social media. They do not have to do all of them. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and blogging are just a few ,but there are so many that you can get lost. I encourage our authors to choose one that is comfortable for them. They should try to devote at least 30 minutes to an hour—at least a couple of days a week—to social media. If they do more than that, it’s fine, but more than that can cause much more angst for them when they start down the rabbit hole and have a hard time jumping out.
TeleRead: Thanks, Sandra
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Considering that I coach people on social media as part of my day job, I have to add to what Sandra says here: It is important to limit how much time you spend on social media. It’s too easy to browse Facebook, and tell yourself you’re “marketing your book,” when what you’re actually doing is wasting time you could be using to write your next book. —Juli