Sandy Diaz is the president of Smith Publicity, a book marketing company dedicated to helping authors create awareness about their books through media coverage. Smith Publicity has promoted more than 1,500 authors/publishers since 1997, and as the president of this organization, Sandy knows what it takes to get the word out about a new book or author. (More about Sandy at The Jury.)
I look for a story that quickly engages me, with characters I care about. Often my favorites are ones that introduce me to a new idea, emotion, point of view or intertwines quirky topics or history. I also enjoy the unexpected ending!
Solid writing, unique voice (something that doesn’t sound like formula story telling) and a story that makes me think about it between readings or long after I am done.
It is essential. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 4,000 books published every day. An author can have an amazing story and place it for sale on Amazon but if no one knows it’s there, it simply will not get read. Authors need to actively promote their book on their own or work with a professional book publicist with experience in their genre.
Typically recommendations by trusted friends and reviewers. I’ll hear a good interview on NPR, like the author’s personality and buy the book.
I’m loving the young adult genre. I'm reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth—-amazing. Always love a good business book with actionable, practical information to grow Smith Publicity. Recently read Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz. We promote many business books so I am lucky to see a stream of titles full of good advice crossing my desk.
Start BEFORE you have a book to sell. You don’t want to create a network, invite friends, etc. then immediately try to push your book. Find authors, bloggers, book reviewers, and professional and consumer groups who enjoy your genre, and actively participate in discussion, including offering genuine praise for other titles. In other words, build your credibility and reputation as an author without the hard push on your own work.
Audiobooks. I always have an audiobook going, often of an old favorite series. I listen when I’m cleaning out the garage, doing laundry, walking and commuting. Sometimes I sit in my driveway listening to a good part and my kids come looking for me. (Have to find a better hiding place...)
NO idea! One of our book publicists fondly uses the expression, “Yep, the author is using his First Communion photo.” We too wonder why some authors use what looks like a 20 year old photo.
Tough? Maybe. Definitely fair and honest.
This is the first part of a two-part interview with Sandy. Watch for the second half to be posted later in the contest!