Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Claire Cook

Claire Cook is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Must Love Dogs, which was adapted into a Warner Bros. movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, The Wildwater Walking Club, Life’s a Beach, and her latest, Seven Year Switch. Her reinvention workshops have been featured on The Today Show, and she has been a judge for the Thurber Humor Prize and the Family Circle fiction contest. Her books have been featured on Good Morning America and in People, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and more. She has two kids, seven brothers and sisters, and one husband. She lives in Scituate, MA.

Visit her website and find reinvention and writing tips at http://www.ClaireCook.com. Friend her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ClaireCookbooks/. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ClaireCookbooks/.

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

Just when Jill Murray has figured out how to make it on her own, her ex-husband proves he can’t even run away reliably. After seven long years missing in action, he’s back – crashing into the man-free existence Jill and her ten-year-old daughter Anastasia have built so carefully. They say that every seven years you become a completely new person, and Seven Year Switch is the story of a woman making the leap to the next chapter of her life.

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

It’s my seventh novel, and my fifth with Hyperion Voice, so promotion has become an ongoing thing. I spend lots of time connecting with my readers through my website and via Facebook and Twitter.

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?

I think realizing that, as one of my characters says, karma is a boomerang. I share reinvention and writing tips at ClaireCook.com, I answer every reader email I get, and I never, ever think it’s all about me. My readers and I are in this together and I think the most important thing an author can do is to remember that.

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

I like them both! I’m lucky enough to have a publisher who sends me on national tours, and yet I can connect with so many more readers, bloggers, and reviewers online. I’m glad I don’t have to choose!

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

I’m active on both Facebook and Twitter, and I even dedicated Seven Year Switch to my Facebook friends. (Please don’t tell my Twitter followers – I’ll make it up to them!) I think initially I was a lot more comfortable on Facebook because I’m more comfortable with the idea of having friends as opposed to followers, but I’m starting to get into the Twitter groove, too! I’ve met amazing people on both.

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 have a very active website and get lots of hits, but I probably spend more time updating the writing and reinvention pages than I do blogging. I post my e-newletters on my blog and photos of the people who come to my book tour events, and that works well for me. I’m on  a really tight writing schedule, and you just can’t do it all and still write the next book.

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

I have always had wonderful inhouse publicists, both at Hyperion Voice, and before that, at Viking Penguin. That being said, never say never. Times are changing and everyone’s overloaded, so I think if it feels right and the author has the means to do it, why not?

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

By rolling up their sleeves and getting to work! I spend at least as much time promoting as I do actually writing. And I also think it’s important to do be authentically you. If you read my work or meet me online or in person, you’ll get a sense that I’m being who I really am. There’s great power in that. I love connecting with readers, and I think that shines through. I do my own website because it’s one more creative way of being me and of staying connected to my readers. But there are certainly other styles of being an author, and I think it’s important to spend some time thinking about which one is the best fit for you.

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

Thanks for having me, Book Marketing Buzz! And keep up the good work!

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