Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Historical Fiction Author Cynthia Haggard

Born and raised in Surrey, England, Cynthia Sally Haggard has lived in the United States for thirty years. She is the author of the Thwarted Queen series, which includes The Bride Price, One Seed Sown, The Gilded Cage, Two Murders Reaped and Rose of Raby. She has had four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer and novelist. Yes, she is related to H. Rider Haggard, the author of SHE and KING SOLOMONS’S MINES. (H. Rider Haggard was a younger brother of the author’s great-grandfather.) Cynthia Sally Haggard is a member of the Historical Novel Society. You can visit her at: http://spunstories.com/, https://twitter.com/ – !/cynthiahaggard, and http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.haggard.

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

Thwarted Queen is a saga of the Yorks, Lancasters and Nevilles, whose family feud started the Wars of the Roses. Told by Lady Cecylee Neville (1415-1495), the thwarted queen.

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

Gosh, I’ve done so many things it’s hard to remember. I think the first thing I did was to do Facebook ads.

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?

To date, doing giveaways on Goodreads has been the most effective. My book went from having zero interest to having hundreds of people joining the giveaway.

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

I have done most of my promoting online so far. But I actually enjoy publich speaking and doing public readings, and would love to have more opportunities to talk about Cecylee offline.

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

Yes, I have used social networking. With Facebook, my impression is that only people who are already your fans get your posts. So, from that point of view it is not so good at reaching new audiences. Twitter, however, is another story, because most of the publishing industry is on it. I have worked very hard to get followers on Twitter, and currently I think I have about 1300 people following me.

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?

My blog and my website are one. You can find them at http://www.spunstories.com. I usually post at least twice a week. Mondays, I give advice on marketing and publishing. Wednesdays, I do craft book reviews, in which I try to understand from a writer’s perspective what worked (or didn’t work) in the novel I’m currently reading. On that scaffolding, I promote my novel as well, but try to limit my posts to when I actually have an annoucment to make. Last month was very busy as I had nine giveaways on Goodreads.

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

I don’t have a publicist. I think this is a very personal questions, because it depends on how much money you have and how much time you have to market a book. If you can find a good publicist and can afford the cost, then I say go for it! I don’t have that kind of money, so I’ve given myself the whole of this year to become an effective marketer. I’m having to learn by trial and error.

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

You should start by telling all of your friends and family about your book, and asking them to spread the word. Then you systematically need to figure out which marketing strategy works best. And I would say beware of marketing plans that cost thousands and thousands of dollars, because it’s hard to earn that money back. I enjoy blog tours because they’re a very affordable way of reaching out to new audiences.

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

Thank you for having me. I enjoyed talking with you!

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