Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Ann Putnam

Ann Putnam holds a PhD in literature from the University of Washington. She teaches creative writing and gender studies at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.  She has published short fiction, personal essays, literary criticism and book reviews in various anthologies including Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice, and in journals, including the Hemingway Review, Western American Literature, and the South Dakota Review.  Her latest work is a memoir, Full Moon at Noontide:  A Daughter’s Last Goodbye. Information about her book and how to order it can be found on her website:  annputnam.com which includes reviews and radio interviews and bio.  Her book can be ordered at any bookstore, through Amazon, and directly from the distributor at www.tamupress.com or by phone: 1-800-826-8911. She has a Facebook page also, as well as a website through her University: www.ups.edu/faculty/aputnam.html.

Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz, Ann.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

This is the story of my mother and father and my dashing, bachelor uncle, my father’s identical twin, and how they lived together with their courage and their stumblings as they made their way into old age and then into death.  And it’s the story of the journey from one twin’s passing to the other, of what happens along the way, of what it means to lose the other who is also oneself.  It takes the reader through the gauntlet of the health care system with all the attendant comedies and sorrows, joys and terrors of such things.  Finally, it asks:  What consolation is there in growing old, in such loss? What abides beyond the telling of my own tale? Wisdom carried from the end of the journey to readers who are perhaps only beginning theirs. Still, what interest might there be in reading of this inevitable journey taken by such ordinary people?  Turned to the light just so, the beauty and laughter of the telling transcend the darkness of the tale.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

The very first thing I did was to try and land book readings and signings at the big bookstores in my area. This was a long process.  I also tried to coordinate newspaper book reviews with the timing of the readings.  Also very difficult.

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?

This would probably be getting the book reviewed in newspapers and periodicals.  This was the most effective I think because it got people to the readings and also put the book out into the world.  If I might add one more thing that helped, that would be sending out book cards to everyone I’ve ever known or met.  However, I have found all of this to be excruciatingly difficult.

Do you do more promoting online or offline and which do you prefer?

So far, it has been offline. I am just beginning the world of online book promotion.  Right now, this seems much easier.  The bookstore readings were pretty emotionally exhausting, then of course very emotionally gratifying to hear people come up and tell you their own stories. I will be beginning an online book tour with PUMP UP YOUR BOOK, and I’m very excited to see how this goes!

Do you use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to promote your books and have you had any success with it?

I have a book website, which people visit, and I have a Facebook account. I’ve not tried to use Twitter, and so right now I’m pretty much in a technological dark age.  I await enlightenment!

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?

I do not own a blog and that’s probably the next thing I should get moving.  I just wish I knew more about how all of this works.

Do you recommend authors getting publicists to help them promote their books?  Do you have one?

I do not have a publicist and surely wish I did! My press has a wonderful marketing manager who has been very helpful in providing back up and much good advice.

If an author prefers to do it alone rather than hire a publicist, where should they  start?

I am sure there are good books out there to help with this.  I wish right now I had read one.  But where to start?  I’d start with finding your “platform” or “platforms,” as they say, and just targeting those arenas where you have personal or professional connections—then send out those book cards!

Thank you for coming, Ann Putnam!  We wish you much success!

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