Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes award-winning mysterious women’s fiction and relationship humor nonfiction, and holds nothing back. She is a former Human Resources executive and employment attorney who lives with her husband and two high school-aged kids, plus 200 pounds of pets in Houston, but their hearts are still in St. Croix, USVI, along with those of their three oldest offspring.
Pamela has one women’s fiction mystery — Saving Grace — and five narrative nonfiction books out with SkipJack Publishing. She is also a contributing author to three anthologies. She won Romance in the 2010 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Competition for Saving Grace, and she also won both Mainstream Fiction (2010, 2011 and 2012) and Narrative Non-fiction (2012) in the Houston Writers’ Guild’s Manuscript Competitions for Missing Harmony (novel) and How To Screw Up Your Kids (nonfiction book). She also won top Ghost Story in 2012 from the Houston Writers Guild.
Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz, Pamela Fagan Hutchins. Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?
Saving Grace is the book you’d get if Janet Evanovich wrote How Stella Got Her Groove Back. If you’re at all inclined to get swept away to fall in love with a rainforest jumbie house and a Texas attorney who is as much a danger to herself as the bad guys, then dive headfirst with lead character Katie Connell into Saving Grace.
What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?
I blogged on it, announced it on Facebook, and added it to Goodreads.
After that, what happened?
People were wonderfully supportive, and surprised. I’ve been an entrepreneur, an employment attorney, a Human Resources executive, and a consultant. My closest friends and family had to wrap their heads around the notion that I was a novelist. Once they read Saving Grace, they were hooked. I’ve got a great network. They’ve taken it on as a mission to create book buzz.
What did your publisher do to promote your book?
We worked together to set me up with a blog tour and with a publicist to book media, events, and speaking engagements for me. SkipJack set me up with bookstore posters and marketing pieces, like my nifty bookmarks and cards. It’s really been a collaborative effort all the way through.
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?
Blogging is huge. Blogging IS the buzz. I’ve been a blogger myself for years, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that the blogging community is an active and supportive group of reading and writing enthusiasts. Some of my best friends are people I’ve never met IRL but know through blogging. Thank you guys, so much!
I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool. Do you find it is or isn’t?
Social media works for me. I don’t think it works well if you only get onto social media for the purpose of promotion. If you’re regularly engaged in interacting with your social media contacts as a community of supportive friends, promoting them, sharing with them, and living your authentic life, then they’ll promote you like you promote them. If you just jump online to scream “BUY MY BOOK” or worse “WHY AREN’T ANY OF YOU JERKS BUYING MY BOOK LIKE YOU PROMISED WHEN I BACKED YOU INTO A CORNER?” it doesn’t work so well, LOL.
Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?
I am doing seminars and speaking at conferences. I write short pieces for newsletters and other publications. I’ve done TV, newspaper, radio, podcasts, and I do lots of book signings.
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?
The farthest-reaching was the KDP Select free promo. Saving Grace went to #1 and had over 33,000 downloads. I’ve just had an avalanche of support since then from people all over the world who have posted reviews and comments and recommended the book to others. But the impact of face-to-face events is huge. I love building a connection with readers. For that reason, call me crazy, but, as long as I have the time and strength, I’m trying to fit in as many personal appearances for book clubs via Skype as I can.
Thank you for this interview, Pamela! We wish you much success!