Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. She’s happily married and has three children. She has had twenty-five books published, both in fiction and nonfiction under different names and in different languages. Her novels have been optioned for book clubs and film. Her book Angel Lane was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. When she’s not hanging out with her girlfriends or hitting the dance floor with her husband, she can be found writing about those things dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.
Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz, Sheila. Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?
Sheila Roberts: I am so excited about Small Change, my new book with St. Martin’s Press, simply because the theme is one that is near and dear to my heart: learning to live well on what you make. It’s a novel about three girlfriends helping each other conquer their financial challenges. It’s a fun read and, I hope, and inspiring one – good women’s fiction with a nice dollop of romance thrown in for good measure. I’ve also included some great money tips and even recipes for fabulous homemade gifts. Uh, did I mention I’m excited about this book? J
Sheila Roberts: Actually, the first thing I did was to sit down and make a promotion plan. I actually do this for every book and it includes everything from where I want to place ads to bookstores where I’ll hopefully do an event. (Of course, a budget is part of the plan, too, and I sometimes find I have to scale back just a little to stay in my budget. My ideas are often bigger than my bank account!) Tops on my to-do list is always a blog tour simply because this method of promotion is the best deal in town and you can meet so many new readers on the Internet.
If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?
Sheila Roberts: I love doing book signings (mainly because I’m a big ham and I enjoy having a captive audience J ) but online promotion is probably the most effective thing I do.
Do you do more promoting online or offline and which do you prefer?
Sheila Roberts: I do online promotion, ads, some radio and TV, book club visits, and bookstore appearances whenever I get the chance. I actually prefer meeting people in person, but I also enjoy online socializing. I’ve met a ton of great people online.
Do you use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to promote your books and have you had any success with it?
Sheila Roberts: I do have friends on Facebook and Tweeps on Twitter. I certainly don’t have a huge following like many people. I always joke with my web guy that I’m going to take over the world. But I’m finding that taking over the world is a slow process J
Do you own a blog and how often do you update it? Did you set up your blog solely to promote your book and what is its effectiveness?
Sheila Roberts: I blog on my website. I feel it’s a good way for people to get to know me as a person. I don’t blog every day but I try to keep things fresh both on the blog and the rest of the site. Visitors can find a new recipe and blog at least every month along with book excerpts and a contest, of course, as well as news of “Sheila sightings”.
Do you recommend authors getting publicists to help them promote their books? Do you have one?
Sheila Roberts: I think using a publicist is a great idea. Maybe not on your first book but at some point. Publicists, like agents, are experts in their field and have contacts that we writers don’t have. Yes, there are some things you can do yourself, but I think most writers reach a point where they need help.
If an author prefers to do it alone rather than hire a publicist, where should they start?
Sheila Roberts: Promote on the Internet. Meet people on Facebook and Twitter. Get a blog tour going. Bottom line: word of mouth is still one of the best ways to promote your book, and the best mouth to get that rolling is yours!
Thank you for coming, Sheila! We wish you much success!
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