Interview with Author Gwen Richardson

Welcome to She Really Said It, Gwen Richardson.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

 A:  The Genesis Files:  Lloyd Palmer is a reporter for the Houston Ledger, a job which should have fulfilled his lifelong dream of being a journalist. But, along with being exhausted from the daily coverage of murders and mayhem in the nation’s fourth largest city, he’s hit a glass ceiling at work, and his editor, Ed Jackson, goes out of his way to make Lloyd’s life miserable

While interviewing potential witnesses to a murder-suicide at a Houston high-rise, Lloyd meets a mysterious stranger who subsequently leads him down a path which changes his life. But Lloyd’s journey is fraught with peril, as both he and his family barely escape a hired assassin.

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

 A:  I am a self-published author and, as a result, I do all of my own marketing.  The first thing I did was have a book trailer video produced about 60 days in advance of the publication date for The Genesis Files.  I used this to piqué the interest of readers regarding the title before it was released.  I let people know about the trailer using Facebook and Twitter.

 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?

 A:  I believe it’s been my e-mail marketing, but this only works if you have a targeted list.  I have my own personal list of book clubs and communicated with them about selecting my book for their monthly read.  I sell multiple copies of my book to people who are avid readers by using this method.  But I’m also working on some other marketing tools, such as local speaking engagements and social events.  It takes multiple marketing tools to sell books and they all compliment each other.

 Do you do more promoting online or offline and which do you prefer?

 A:  I use ALL forms of promotion that are at my disposal — online and offline.

 Do you use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to promote your books and have you had any success with it?

 A:  I aggressively use Facebook and Twitter, but I built up an audience on the mediums first.  I have about 4,700 Facebook friends.  Build your following FIRST.  Get at least 1,000 Facebook friends because there is strength in numbers.

 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?

 A:  I have a blog but only use it sporadically.  I’ve been a writer for many years and have written a lot of commentaries that have been published, particularly regarding social and political issues.  I just wrote one which I will publish on Monday, Sept. 17th.  It concerns the millions of dollars that President Obama’s campaign is raising and spending, but only a handful of black companies are being utilized.  Once published, I will post it on Facebook and Twitter to gain page views, readers and buzz.

I plan to increase my blogging in the future.

 Do you recommend authors getting publicists to help them promote their books?  Do you have one?

 A:  I recommend that authors hire a publicist only after they’ve reached a certain point with their books, but not immediately.  A publicist can only work with you if you have some other abilities besides the book itself.  Are you able to speak to interested audiences?  Are you outgoing enough to do well during media interviews?  Is your subject matter different and unique enough that it is saleable through the media?  What would make your work stand out from the pack of millions of books being published each year?

 If an author prefers to do it alone rather than hire a publicist, where should they  start?

 A:  Start with social media.  It’s where a lot of the eyeballs and buzz are these days.

 Thank you for coming, Gwen Richardson!  We wish you much success!

Gwen Richardson is an author, publicist and entrepreneur.  As an author, she has two published books, one non-fiction and one fiction.  Her début novel, The Genesis Files, released in June 2012, is a mystery/thriller featuring the main character, Lloyd Palmer.  Palmer is a reporter for the Houston Ledger, a job which should have fulfilled his lifelong dream of being a journalist.  But, along with being exhausted from the daily coverage of murders and mayhem in the nation’s fourth largest city, he’s hit a glass ceiling at work, and his editor, Ed Jackson, goes out of his way to make Lloyd’s life miserable.

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