Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Jennifer Walker

Jennifer Walker is a full-time freelance writer, editor and novelist, owner of Walker Writing Services (, ballroom dance instructor and Arabian horse and dressage enthusiast. Her work has appeared in numerous places online and in print, including the Elements of the Soul and Ultimate Horse Lover anthologies and Arabian Horse World and Sierra Style magazines. Her debut novel, Bubba Goes National, was released in January of 2010, and she is frantically working on the sequel.

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

Jennifer: Thirteen-year-old Leslie Clark has loved horses for as long as she can remember. However, her widowed father cannot afford them, so she works for a horse trainer, Helen Green, to earn lessons. She finally earns enough money to consider owning a horse of her own, and she finds a purebred Arabian horse at the livestock auction. He had been left there by his uncaring owners because he was small, but Leslie thought he was just right. He turns out to be very talented, and they go all the way to the National Championships together. Along the way, she has to deal with her rival, a bratty rich girl named Kate, and learn about love with her first crush, Alex.

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

Jennifer: I spend a lot of time on social networking–posting on Facebook and twitter, as well as on writing- and horse-related discussion boards. I have a page for Bubba Goes National on Facebook and invite people to it on a regular basis, including by advertising on Facebook.

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?

Jennifer: Facebook is probably just about the most amazing thing, because it’s so easy to get the word out to thousands and thousands of people. By posting about Bubba Goes National on my own page and bringing people to the fan page, I’ve sold a lot of copies and found several people to review the book. I’ve also found other promotional opportunities through the site, such as landing a job as the assistant on Red River Writers live, a book club discussion where I get to mention my own work on the air.

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

Jennifer: I do most of my promoting online, because I’m painfully shy. However, I have done book signings at a book store, a horse show and Horse Expo, so I’ve sold quite a few copies in person as well.

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

Jennifer: See the second and third questions. :)

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?

Jennifer: I have several blogs, but none are solely for Bubba Goes National. “Jennifer Gets Bloggy” is my general writing blog, which I use for a variety of promotional purposes, to educate my readers on writing topics and to share other writing-related news. “A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book” is my book review blog, where I provide free promotion to other authors in the form of book reviews, author interviews and guest blogs. I generally don’t use it to promote Bubba, although I do have an ad there for it. I’m not very religious about updating either one, although the book review blog gets several posts a month since I have authors relying on my to do my job.

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

Jennifer: I do not have a publicist, so I can’t really comment. I will say that no one will buy your book if they don’t know about it, so you have to publicize your book. If you’re not willing or able to do that, you might consider getting some help.

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

Jennifer: I’m no expert, but I think it’s important to direct most of your efforts toward your target audience where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. However, don’t spam–people hate that and it will just turn them off about your book. Facebook is a great place to find people who are interested in your subject matter. Distributing a few review copies is a good way to get some low-cost promotion–find blogs and websites that will post reviews of your book, interviews with you, etc. to spread the word.

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

Jennifer: Thank you! I appreciate you having me.

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