Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Women’s Fiction Author Jessica Chambers

Jessica Chambers has been inventing stories even before she was old enough to hold a pen. She has a passion for writing contemporary novels packed with emotion, complex relationships and often a touch of mystery.

Visually impaired from birth, Jessica currently lives with her family and Staffordshire bull terrier in the English town of Windsor. In addition to devouring fiction of all genres, she loves watching TV quiz shows and admits to being extremely competitive when it comes to a game of Trivial Pursuit.

Her latest book is Dark is the Sky.

You can visit her website at www.jessicachambers.co.uk.

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

Of course! Thanks so much for having me here. I think of Dark is the Sky as women’s fiction with an edge, blending emotion, complex relationships and mystery. Twelve years after tragedy tore their family apart, the Camerons are reuniting for the first time since that fateful day. They hope that they will at last be able to put the past behind them and lay their ghosts to rest, but of course, nothing is ever that simple! Some wounds run too deep to heal, and some secrets are too destructive to remain hidden. As the web of hostility and deceit begins to unravel, and the truth about what really happened on that long ago summer’s afternoon finally emerges, family ties are tested to the limit.

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

Besides bombarding family, friends and anyone else unfortunate enough to be in my address book with ridiculously overexcited emails? Well, I’m no expert when it comes to marketing, so the first thing I did was to find out as much about self promotion as I could. There’s tons of helpful advice online so that even a novice like me can put a marketing plan together, and that’s exactly what I did.

After that, what happened?

In the midst of finally taking the plunge and joining social networks, chiefly Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads, I received my revisions from the publisher and the dreaded editing process began! Actually, it was all far less painful than I anticipated. I belong to an online critique group, a wonderful collection of both published and aspiring authors. With so many discerning eyes to help me, I was able to turn my rough draft into a polished manuscript, and this hard work certainly paid off later on.

What did your publisher do to promote your book?

All Things That Matter Press is still a relatively small publisher with a limited budget, and no one ever made any secret of the fact that much of the responsibility for marketing would be down to me. However, everyone at ATTMP has been enormously supportive, constantly providing new marketing tips and ideas, and always sharing my reviews and other news on the publisher’s own blog. I’ve certainly never felt like I’m on my own.

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’m quite a private person, so blogging isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Nor, as with so many marketing strategies, is it a quick fix. It takes months of regular posting, at least twice a week, to gain a readership. I’ve been blogging on and off for a year or so now, but it’s only during the past couple of months that I’ve really started to take it seriously. So, to answer your question, I can’t say it has been instrumental in my book sales as yet, but it’s a platform to build on for the future. I’m in this for the long haul!

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  Do you find it is or isn’t?

Perhaps not so much in terms of direct sales. It has, however, been invaluable when it comes to connecting with others in the book industry, whether it be fellow authors, reviewers or publishers, and this has opened up far more marketing opportunities than I would otherwise have had. I admit I do love the retweet function on Twitter, and how what you have to say is so often shared far beyond your own followers.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

I’ve just created a book trailer, which was enormous fun to put together. I’m also working on getting reviews, and have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback Dark is the Sky has received so far. Now that my book is available here in the UK, I’ve had some promotional postcards printed and am going to talk to the local libraries about ordering in my book. I’m even discussing the possibility of recording a podcast with a fellow author, but that needs some more research. On top of all this, I’m writing the next novel. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

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?

Oh, without a doubt, it would have to be my book trailer. I only uploaded it to YouTube recently, but already it has received some great comments and impacted on my sales. I just think video is such a creative way of introducing readers to your books. For anyone who’s interested, you can check out the trailer for Dark is the Sky here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fgrT4eiYS0

What are your experiences with offline promotions such as booksignings?

Well, what with me being based in the UK and my publisher in the US, all my promotion thus far has been done online. I have heard though that book signings and other author events can be extremely successful in terms of sales and building a readership, so I’m certainly considering organizing one in the future. Always assuming, of course, that I can get over my shyness!

Thank you for this interview, Jessica!  We wish you much success!

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