Steven Verrier, born in the United States and raised in Canada, has spent much of his adult life living and traveling abroad. He is the author of Raising a Child to be Bilingual and Bicultural, a prizewinning book published bilingually in Japan, and several short plays for the student market. His novels, Tough Love, Tender Heart and Plan B, were published in 2008 and 2010, and his recently-published nonfiction book, Class Struggle: Journal of a Teacher In Up to His Ears, is sure to raise eyebrows over the coming months. Currently Steven Verrier lives in San Antonio, Texas, and New Brunswick, Canada. You can visit his website at www.stevenverrier.com.
Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz, Steve. Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?
Class Struggle: Journal of a Teacher In Up to His Ears is a nonfiction account of my third year of teaching at “Webster High School,” which I’ve described as an institution that seems to revel in dysfunction. From the start to the end of Class Struggle I paint a picture that might appall a lot of people and even send some would-be teachers looking for another profession.
As publication neared I started contacting bookstores and making arrangements for interviews such as this one. I’ve also been spreading the word to a lot of teachers because I’m sure there are many who can relate to my story.
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?
Maybe word of mouth. Even when there are interviews or events taking place, it always helps to spread the word the old-fashioned way.
Do you do more promoting online or offline and which do you prefer?
I try to strike a balance. I don’t prefer one way over the other.
Do you use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to promote your books and have you had any success with it?
No, simply because as a reader I wouldn’t respond much to promotion via those media. I prefer a more substantial interaction between writer and readers.
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?
That’s something I probably should do, but I just don’t have much time for it. Perhaps at some point I’ll get someone to assist me in that capacity. As it is, my website provides some basic information about me and my books, and it doesn’t change often enough.
Do you recommend authors getting publicists to help them promote their books? Do you have one?
I don’t have one, though I’ve considered the option. I think it really depends on the chances a book has of breaking through. A lot of that depends on the strength of the publisher – and a major publisher should assist its authors with promotion. For small-publisher authors – those struggling to get their books into stores – the thousands of dollars a publicist would cost may be better invested elsewhere. A lot of publicists seem too ready to take on any client but don’t offer any evidence they’ll deliver anything an author can’t deliver himself or herself.
If an author prefers to do it alone rather than hire a publicist, where should they start?
Get on the phone. Visit bookstore managers. Spread the word any way possible. Talk to anyone who’ll listen. I think once you reach a certain point people will start coming to you.
Thank you for coming, Steve! We wish you much success!
Thanks so much. It’s been a pleasure.