Today starts a new series of interviews with authors talking about their book promotion strategies. Today we are interviewing Caroline Alethia, author of Plant Teacher. You can visit her website at www.plantteacherthebook.net.
Thanks for this interview, Caroline. Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book, Plant Teacher?
Plant Teacher takes place in Bolivia from 2007 to 2008 during President Evo Morales’ much-contested consolidation of power. The book follows the lives of a community of Americans living in the country during that time.
Did you publish through a publisher or self-publish?
When I looked into the economics of going through a publishing house versus self-publishing, it seemed like self-publishing was the way to go. Agents and publishers, in this day and age, expect you, in any case, to market your book yourself, and they take a large bite of the royalties. I have just begun an Internet tour of blog sites, and I think that this approach will become the model of the future. Most books are purchased over the Internet today.
After you decided to self-publish, what happened?
After making the decision to self-publish, I built a website with many bells and whistles including a promotional video, book excerpts, a blog, and podcasts. Starting with just my circle of friends and their friends, I was fortunate that the book began selling right away and several people wrote strong reviews on Amazon. I also sought out Huffington Post contributor, Joel Hirst, who was favorably impressed and described Plant Teacher as “compelling” and “powerful.”
What did you do to promote your book?
I turned to an Internet publicist to help me promote Plant Teacher. This individual has the inside scoop on the many blogs focused on books and writers, and she has arranged an “Internet tour” where I can reach my market, people who purchase books over the Internet, directly on their platform.
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 think blogging makes a big difference, and website hits bear this out. Blogs are one of the key ways that many readers decide what books are of interest to them.
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 probably haven’t utilized this realm as much as I should. I envision a Facebook page for one of my main characters that remains stuck in time—before Plant Teacher begins. I have not robustly promoted this page yet, but I hope to grow it over time.
Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?
Plant Teacher is currently being translated into Spanish. Once the Spanish-language edition is ready, I intend to promote it via Latino media in the United States. This is a growing and largely untapped market, and I think a story about modern Bolivia will resonate with Latino audiences.
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?
It is important to have an attractive, interesting website that fairly captures the tone and spirit of your book. Potential readers will go there to make a decision on whether or not to buy your book, and what they see on those pages needs to be enticing to them.
What are your experiences with offline promotions such as booksignings?
I am planning to go all the way with Internet promotion. I have a full-time job that is very satisfying to me, and I think I can balance promoting Plant Teacher with continuing with my day-job by relying on blogs and Internet promotion.
Thank you for this interview, Caroline. We wish you much success!