Kelly Preston is, first and foremost, an animal lover. Raised on a ten-acre property in a small town in Pennsylvania, she grew up with horses, rabbits, and – of course – dogs. When she left home after college, she acquired Gizmo, an irresistible Lhasa Apso that started her on a journey full of joys and sorrows, hopes and tribulations, frustrations, endless lessons in patience, and above all else, love. All of this has come at the hands (more precisely the paws) of Gizmo, Betty Boop, Buffy, Carla Mae, and the inimitable Mr. MaGoo.
Mr. MaGoo is a nine-year-old Lhasa Apso and the book’s co-creator and co-writer. He is, in his own words, “the alpha and omega of all dogs – in the cutest and sparkiest, most fun-loving package ever.” Ignoring Kelly’s persistent eye-rolling, Mr. MaGoo has forged ahead with this project in an attempt to, as he puts it, “present the facts from a dog’s perspective. In other words, the correct, most accurate, most interesting, only-one-that-matters perspective,” to which he adds, simply, “Woof!”
Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz, Kelly. Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?
Real Dogs Don’t Whisper (www.realdogsdontwhisper.com) is about four rescue dogs that entered my life and each having special needs. I also have a co-author, Mr MaGoo; he is my Lhasa Apso that was a rescue from a puppy mill. Both he and I take the reader on a journey of discovery, growth, exploration that we experienced over the course of ten (10) years with Betty Boop, Buffy, and Carla Mae. Together we hope to raise awareness about second chances for those with special needs and try to inspire readers to live in the moment, open your heart; and, what unconditional love truly means.
What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?
The first thing I did even before I had sent our requests, I built a marketing site that was for publishers only. Much like today’s current site, the branding was the same; the content and copy was that of promotional tonality. As of today, I am without a publisher and went out on my own. Once I made that decision, I changed the site to be public facing.
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?
Facebook hands down! Our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/realdogsdontwhisper) has now grown into a very active community, primarily for dogs; there are other pet fans as well. I implement a push-pull marketing strategy; three times a month I will do a book posting, the rest of the month with daily updates about Mr MaGoo and cast members; fan updates, pet tips and so much more.
Do you do more promoting online or offline and which do you prefer?
I do both as equally are important for marketing and brand awareness efforts. When implementing both, need to ensure that there is consistent look and feel; as well as messaging. I begin with online efforts prior to an offline effort to build momentum and brand recognition. Which do I prefer? I prefer both as they provide cohesive strategy.
Do you use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to promote your books and have you had any success with it?
I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+; each have their own set of success metrics. I do find though, that Facebook at this time appears to be more engaging as well as help driving purchases of my book. My Twitter (@KellynMrMaGoo) efforts have been beneficial for engaging with other professionals. While Google + (+RealDogsDontWhisper) has been helped with SEO efforts.
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?
I do blog once a week, www.realdogsdontwhisper.com/blog; actually it is Mr MaGoo that blogs weekly to his fan base. The blogs are normally around pet nutrition, exercise, core values, pet movies, rescue work. While Mr MaGoo does not blog directly about our book, he will mention a chapter within a blog if applicable to the blog subject.
Do you recommend authors getting publicists to help them promote their books? Do you have one?
Since I wasn’t able to retain a publisher, I elected to go out on my own; especially since my career is in digital marketing. However, if a publisher would come my way, I would be ecstatic. To be successful, marketing needs to be 24/7 consistently; I would welcome help.
If an author prefers to do it alone rather than hire a publicist, where should they start?
My recommendation is first to begin with your own site; over 2oo million searches per day are performed within Google. Once you have your site ready for launch, use one of the many excellent self publishing platforms out there; and, ensure you offer a digital format too. Once you have published your book (congratulations) begin marketing on the social channels.
Thank you for coming, Kelly! We wish you much success!