Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Mystery Author Linda Schroeder

Linda Schroeder divides her time between the bright sun of California and the high mountains of Colorado. She has a Master’s degree in English and one in Communicative Disorders/Audiology. In addition to her novel, Artists & Thieves, she has published a college text.

Her early interest in English expanded to include language disorders and she began a second career as an audiologist and aural rehabilitation therapist working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults.

Currently, she studies and practices Chinese brush painting, celebrating the vitality and energy of nature. She follows art and art theft blogs and writes her own blog about art and sometimes includes reviews of novels. She is working on two more novels, a second Mai Ling novel about the Diamond Sutra, and a Sammy Chan art mystery about the forgery of a Goya painting.

You can visit her website at www.artistsandthieves.com.

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

Artists & Thieves won the Sand Diego Book Awards in the action/suspense category. It is an art mystery.  The heroine, Mai Ling, is an artist by day, a thief by night; she recovers stolen art for Interpol. In this story, though, she is on a personal mission to steal a looted Chinese bronze bowl from a Monterey art collector in order to return it to China–a duty passed to her by the ancestor who failed to protect the bowl from thieves. Mai is helped by the flamboyant, arrogant, emotional artist, Angelo. She is hindered by Hunter who wants the bowl for cash and by the professional looters who originally dug up the bowl and now, because of its enormous value, want it back. I tried to write as if I were splashing paint on canvas, moving very fast so that colors, characters, and events fly at the reader.

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

The publisher worked with a distributor who represented the book to bookstores and on-line sellers. I had a professional create a website for me and started blogging.  And I began to research publicists and local opportunities for writers.

After that, what happened?

Once I had the printed book, I sent out review copies and talked to local book stores. I got a very nice review in the San Diego Fiction Examiner and another great one in Midwest Book Review. I set up Facebook. I started reading the author forums on Kindle sites, Goodreads, and Amazon.  Now I am doing an Internet tour with Pump Up Your Books.

What did your publisher do to promote your book?

He put my cover and buy link on his web site and referred me to a publicist, but he did not market the book.

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 like blogging.  I read and occasionally comment on writers’ blogs and I read art blogs daily. My own blog is about art because that is what I find rewarding to explore.  Blogging is great communication and I think already successful authors keep readers interested in them and their work by blogging. My blog is one section of my webpage so even though I blog about art rather than writing, my author webpage and facts about my book can be viewed every time someone reads my posts. I honestly don’t know how many sales are generated by the blog.

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

I have a Facebook page and am on Linked In.  And there are a lot of author forums and chat rooms, especially for Kindle authors. They require a lot of time on-line. My friend Andrew Kaufman has had major success using the forums. So I know that kind of interaction works. I want to have the time to do that. Occasionally I respond to a promotional give-away and I do enjoy the personal tidbits but folks on Facebook and the forums who constantly are self-promoting are not fun to follow. Elizabeth S. Craig is a whiz at Twitter and sharing writer-related links as well as blogging at her site, Mystery Writing is Murder. She’s a good model and I’d like to get to that point.

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

The virtual author tour is a good tool for me. Dorothy Thompson of Pump Up Your Book is a savvy publicist and I am enjoying writing guest blogs and interviews. I’ve talked to SistersInCrime and other local groups. I always carry copies of my book and am surprised at how many people will ask to buy one when they find I am an author. To the general public, writing a book is something special. We forget that.

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?

Most effective in terms of most satisfying are author “events.” I love talking to groups about the writing process and answering questions about creating fiction.

What are your experiences with offline promotions such as booksignings?

At my first signing I sold 50 books. Other signings varied. But people who are interested in writers and in reading are a lot of fun to talk to. Personal contact with readers is invaluable to me. We all measure success on different scales. I am retired from a career which demanded long hours and take-home reports that couldn’t get finished during the work day.  It was all consuming. Preparing a book to sell is also a full time job.  But having a book to sell is gravy.    

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

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