This is the second part of my interview with Maria Snyder, author of the Study Book trilogy. I split the interview in two so that I could dedicate the second half to the excellent marketing information Maria gave me.
Tell me about your marketing methods for Poison Study.
I was blessed to have a good publisher. The first thing she did was send me to the West Coast on a book tour. I went to Seattle, L.A., and San Diego. Unfortunately, it was Columbus Day weekend, and no one was in the bookstores! The experience didn’t kill any future desires to do book fairs—I still love to meet people and talk.
When I do book fairs, I like to personalize my table: I always have bookmarks and chocolate for visitors. The chocolate enables me to open up a conversation about how food tasters detect poison. I then offer my first book, Poison Study, as the antidote. I love doing promotional work and marketing, which is the opposite of most authors’ personality types. I almost love it too much, and I accept invitations to events when I should be scheduling writing time instead.
I did some radio interviews and sold a few books that way.
Some of the most effective sales figures were gained through online promotions. I had one hundred advance copies of the book and I gave away five hundred of them through contests. The contestants became my referral marketing group. We would give one entry to each person who linked to my blog or sent out five referrals or posted about the contest.
Sometimes I will ask bookstore owners if they’d like to offer a bookstore package. I send them signed book labels that they can put into the books, postcards, pencils, and bookmarks. This helps us both to promote more sales of my books.
Who do you use to create your marketing materials?
While my publisher takes care of the design elements of the marketing items, I use overnightprints.com to print them. I especially love the quality of my bookmarks: I have a book jacket photo of one of the first two books in my current trilogy on each side, along with my website and e-mail information. Storm Glass came out in April, and Sea Glass is coming out on September first.
Your book, Fire Study, was on the NY Times Bestseller List for two weeks. Poison Study is on its second print, Magic Study on its first, and Fire Study is on its third already. What is it, besides your incredible talent, which has caused this trilogy to do so well?
Once my third book in the trilogy made it to the NY Times list, it made marketing a whole lot easier. Even with books I have written since then, having my name on that list gets me invited to conferences, book fairs, workshops, and many other events. I always bring my books with me and sell a substantial number of them. To be honest, it was my fans that created the momentum to buy Magic Study and Fire Study. The buzz that they created, both on- and offline, helped considerably.
Do you have any other book ideas thought up in your head?
Always! I am working on one more fantasy book but I have ideas for a science-fiction book, a mystery, and I am seeking a publisher for my mainstream MG book.
Finally, what words of encouragement might you give to struggling authors?
PERSISTENCE! Keep going!
In the early days of writing, I had had so many rejection slips that I decided to switch from writing fiction to writing non-fiction. I sent out some queries and was offered a lot of work by local magazines. I was even asked to write up the history of a chocolate factory. Then I got the acceptance letter from my publisher and I had one month to do all the edits she asked for and fulfill all of my non-fiction obligations.
Just stay determined, and don’t let rejection hamper your goals.
If you would like to win a signed copy of Poison Study, the first book in the Poison, Fire, Magic Study trilogy, there are a few ways to get an entry in. You will get one entry for each of the following, as long as you send me a link to the proof here or via e-mail (inkmeister at inksnatcher dot com):
1. Link to this interview (part one or two) from your blog
2. Link to Maria’s site (http://www.mariavsnyder.com/books.php) from your blog
3. Blog about this contest
4. Send referrals, for any one of Maria’s books, to five friends (and have them e-mail me to say they got one)
4. Twitter/Facebook etc. about this contest
5. Comment here
Published in October 2005, Poison Study won the 2006 Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, won the Salt Lake Co. Library’s Reader’s Choice award, was a 2005 Booksense pick, was nominated for four other awards, and received a Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly. You can find Poison Study at these online retailers: eHarlequin.com, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Borders. Poison Study can be downloaded as an audio book from Audible.com, and an eBook is available from eHarlequin’s eBook Store.
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