Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Lisa Heidke

Lisa Heidke lives in Sydney, Australia, and was a feature writer on several national magazines including Practical Parenting and Bride To Be, before leaving to pursue novel writing full-time. Lucy Springer Gets Even (Allen & Unwin, 2009) is her first novel and was quickly followed by What Kate Did Next (2010). Her third novel, tentatively titled Claudia Changes Course, will be published early 2011. Follow Lisa on Twitter @lisaheidke and visit her website at www.lisaheidke.com. You can purchase Lisa’s books at www.allenandunwin.com and www.amazon.com.

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

I wanted to write a light hearted story in diary form about a woman whose husband leaves her on day one. I thought it would be interesting to look at a woman in her mid-thirties with a couple of kids who thinks her life is moving along happily and rip it to shreds – to plot her journey from the depths of despair and bewilderment on day one to her getting her life together by day sixty-five.

After charting the story, I realised I was missing a few crucial elements. Lucy needed a career and I’m fascinated by the reality TV phenomenon so I decided to make her an actress; I was going through a renovation at the time so thought that would add realistic mayhem; and as for Lucy’s epiphany, that fell into place with the advent of the Bali terrorist attacks. I happened to be in Bali during the second wave of attacks in 2005 so felt I could write about them authentically without over sensationalising the situation.

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

I set up a website (www.lisaheidke.com), created a Facebook address and logged on to Twitter @lisaheidke.

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?

Besides word of mouth, I would say where a national magazine has done a positive review of Lucy Springer Gets Even and offered signed giveaways as prizes.

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

I definitely do more promoting online using Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and any online zines I can get involved with.

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

I do use Facebook and Twitter. I think I’ve had more success with Twitter because I can access a lot of people who are ‘cyber friends’ through re-tweets etc. I promote my blogs and website on both Facebook and Twitter.

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?

Yes, I have a blog on my website which I enjoy writing. I’d like to say I write a new one every week but more often, it’s once a fortnight. My blog is focused on writing – topics such as editing, point of view and finding your unique voice. Sometimes, I’ll invite an author to write a guest blog to mix it up a bit.

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

Having been through the process of not having a publicist for Lucy Springer Gets Even, I am definitely considering hiring one for my next book. Book publicists are professional and they know far more about the industry than I do. Having said that, I’m in the process of asking around – I don’t have a million dollars to spend on publicizing my book but I still want to hire a brilliant publicist who will help me get the best promotion possible for my books.

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

If the publicist at their publishing company is not sending out review copies with a book blurb to magazines and local papers, etc, then that’s where I’d start. I’d head to libraries in your area and tell them you’re available to speak at book clubs, writers groups, and of course, library author evenings! I’d also make sure my website was up to date. Make sure you use Facebook and Twitter to promote your books and scour online publishing related sites to see how you can get involved and promote your writing. Giving away copies is always a popular one!

Thank you for coming, Lisa! We wish you much success!

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