Michael Reilly is a writer and entrepreneur. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. His first published novel, Fresh Heir, was released in May 2011. He is also founder and chief executive officer of FitDivs Inc, a company that promotes and rewards healthy living. Michael resides with his wife and four children in Charlottesville, VA.
Fresh Heir is a novel about the challenges of parenting in the modern world. It takes a satirical poke at this trend toward helicopter parenting and the tendency for parents to over-schedule their kids for fear they won’t be successful. So many non-fiction books have addressed this issue. My goal was to write a fictional story that would convey my message within the scope of an entertaining read. I hope my readers will laugh along the way, but in the end, stop and give serious thought to the underlying issues.
What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?
Well, I have never actually had a publisher accept my manuscript. I am self-published. I went this route with Fresh Heir because I had written several books in the past that were rejected by agents and publishers. (Yes, I have kept the 100+ rejection letters.) When I embarked on writing Fresh Heir I decided to skip the whole charade. I really wanted to enjoy the writing process without the aggravation of wondering whether it would get accepted. Plus, I had faith that the advancements in the self-publishing world would get me where I wanted to go much quicker. So, with said, once my book was in print, I connected with as many people I knew…family, friends, etc. and asked them to spread the word about my book. I have a dedicated website for the book as well as a page on Facebook.
After that, what happened?
That was just a few months ago. Summer hit, and things have slowed a bit. I had heard great things about PumpUpYourBook.com, so that’s where I have focused most of my attention.
What did your publisher do to promote your book?
I self-published through Amazon.com’s CreateSpace. They sent out press releases to hundreds of media outlets, and of course put me right up on Amazon with both a print and Kindle version.
What’s your opinion on blogging? Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?
I think blogging is great promotion and certainly a wonderful way for writers to continue working on their craft. It is hard to say how much it is helping sell my book because it is still early yet for me. I am a new author and realize it will take some time to get my name out there. But I am very optimistic and will continue to blog as much as I can.
I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool. Do you find it is or isn’t?
Absolutely. Anytime you can have dozens of people hooked into your “loop” with the click of a button, I think it is helpful.
Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?
I am promoting primarily right now through PumpUpYourBook.com. I also am working with some local bookstores to carry my book, since it is now only sold online.
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?
It is very difficult to say at this point in time, as it is very early yet in the process for me.
What are your experiences with offline promotions such as booksignings?
I have not done any yet, but as soon as I can get my book in some local bookstores, I hope to arrange some book signings.
Thank you for this interview, Michael! We wish you much success!