So happy that Ruth Cardello is our Q and A guest today. Ruth is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is also SUPER savvy on social media and is DYNAMITE at utilizing social networking to promote her books and help turn them into BIG hits.
I have always been passionate about reading romance stories. As a young girl I would stay up all night secretly reading the newest Harlequin novel. Writing became a natural way for me to escape into the worlds I loved being ensconced in. It is also a way for me to get the voices in my head to quiet down . . . or at least it gives me an excuse for them.
I wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Publishers told me that the story I had submitted was good but not what they were looking for. I was determined to publish my book. I started searching on the Internet for information on self-publishing. It was still very new at that time. I methodically began connecting and networking with other authors online. Once my first book was self-published, I began connecting with my readers and sharing my knowledge with other authors who were just starting out. I’ve paid forward my good fortune each and every chance I had and I like to think that is what has brought so many wonderful people into my life. Writing a novel is a solitary process. Publishing it is not.
Some authors cringe at the idea of social media and see it as a waste of time away from their writing. What do you think about it? How much time do you spend on social media every day?
I use every social media outlet possible. I am on Facebook, where I have a personal page, a Business Page, and several other pages that are used for networking with other authors and my readers. I am also on twitter , Goodreads, Google+, Authorgraph and Pinterest. I dedicate at least one hour a day solely to connecting with my readers and other authors.
Based on your own experience, do you think it’s a good idea for an author to invest in his or her own promotional or marketing budget? If so – what are some of the important things that an author should consider?
Yes, writing is a business and any business owner will tell you that you have to invest in yourself to grow. The initial investment can be time, but never underestimate the value of a good editor. Important things to consider are budget, target market, and finding the best advertisers within budget that will reach the most readers. A good cover and a good tag line are also important in your promotion.
What are the top three things every author needs to do to create a buzz around a new release?
1. The best tool for me is my newsletter. If you have a newsletter, use it to notify your readers of your new release. Every reader who reads your book and doesn’t sign up to stay connected with you in some way may forget you by the time you release your next. Not because they didn’t love your book, but because of the sheer number of good books available out there.
2. Inform your readers of your release via all of your social media outlets. Post about your release on Facebook. Tweet about it. Share it on Google + and add it to your blog. Encourage your fans to share it with their friends.
3. If you can arrange for a Blog Blitz or a Book Blog Tour you can reach even more readers.
What do you think of the notion that you’re not only an author but you’re a business person too? Does that resonate with you?
Absolutely. Wearing an author’s hat and a business hat keeps me busy! Sometimes I have to set the business aspect of writing aside so it doesn’t cut into my writing time. But I can’t always put the business aside because being an author is like running a very busy shop where you are the sole employee.
Who are some of your favourite authors and why?
I have a lot of authors who have inspired me throughout the years. I couldn’t begin to list them all here. Annette Blair and Sandra Marton were amazing to me when I first started out and I hero worshipped both for their writing ability.
What would I find on your desk at this very moment?
My laptop, an iPad, my cell phone, a plaque that reads “if you can dream it, you can do it – Walt Disney”, a bottle of water and some carrot sticks.
What is your favourite guilty pleasure treat that you indulge in when writing?
I don’t eat chocolate or many sweets, but I do love to start my writing day with an iced French Vanilla coffee.
A great writer or a good book doesn’t necessarily translate to hitting a bestseller list. What do you think the bestselling authors do differently than authors who don’t sell as well?
It’s a whole new world out here in Indie publishing. You’re right there are many good books that don’t hit the lists. All things equal, to make a list your book has to be seen. It’s that simple. How an author gets their book in the hands of new readers and grows their reader base—that’s an individual path all the best sellers created for themselves. But the bottom line is always the same. A good book needs to find its readers. Once it does that, it’s on its way.