Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Don't Be AFRAID


Today is the day that I have my guest. If you didn't figure out who it was, the above photo is your clue. The interview below is the answer. Jack Kilborn is also known as JA Konrath (author of Whiskey Sour, Rusty Nail, Cherry Bomb and more) AFRAID is coming out this month and JA (Joe) is doing a blog tour to help promote it. I want to send out a huge thank you to Joe for agreeing to stop by. I wonder if it has anything to do with the beers I promised him after the interview?!?

Amy: Joe, welcome to Random Thoughts! Obviously this isn't a typical writer's blog. I'm glad that you could make time to stop by during your busy blog tour. You must be exhausted.

Joe: Happy St. Patty's Day! Thanks for having me. I'm far from exhausted. I am, however, pretty relaxed. On March 17th, the bars all open at 9am, and it's a tradition to have beer and eggs with my buddies. Not beer+eggs together; the beer and eggs stay separated, but they
are consumed at the same time. More beer than eggs. Green beer, of course. There's a Dr. Seuss book in there somewhere.

Amy: Being that you are my first ever guest, I wanted to come up with some deeply thought provoking questions. What is your favorite Rick Springfield song?

Joe: Jessie's Girl. I mean, where can I find a woman like that?

Amy: I'm just kidding. I know that you are way too busy writing books to entertain me and don't have time for music. Speaking of your books, what made you decide to do this blog tour (besides promoting AFRAID?)

Joe: I did it to promote Afraid. :)

Also, I love experiments, and have done many as an author. It's hard to judge what works, as far as self-promotion goes. This is a chance to watch my stats, hear feedback, and figure out if this blog touring thing really helps to sell books. Or not.

So far, my blog traffic has gone up, my backlist sales on Amazon have gone up, and I'm getting a lot of email and meeting a lot of new people.

So it seems to be, at this point, a smart thing to have done.

The sites I visit are also reporting increased traffic and comments, so this is a mutually beneficial experiment.

Amy: Why do you feel that it's important for writers to help each other out like this? Isn't writing and publishing a little "dog eat dog"?

Joe: Not at all. My fans can be your fans. It's never an either/or choice. If someone enjoys books, chances are their favorite authors don't write them quick enough, so they're always on the lookout for new material to read. No authors are in competition with each other.

This is an extremely difficult business to break into, and it's even harder to stay published than it is to get published in the first place. There is nothing but benefits in helping each other. Trading links, sharing advice, networking to find out who is editing anthologies, which agents are good or bad--it all makes this biz a little bit easier.

Amy: Do you find that you are doing more, less, or about the same amount of self promotion now that you did with your first book?

Joe: I'm always promoting. It's part of the business. Name recognition and brand awareness require ongoing attention to maintain, and extra attention to grow.

For each book, I work with my publisher on various campaigns, and we've tried many things. Conventional and unconventional book tours. Mass mailings. Contests and events. This blog tour is just the latest idea in a never-ending cycle of ideas.

So, to answer your question, I'm pretty much always working my butt off, no matter the book.
The question always arises: Can an author make a difference in their own sales? After all, if you look at just about every bestselling author in the history of books, very few have done as much promotion as I have, yet they sell in much bigger numbers.

The publisher is the one that decides on the advertising and marketing budget, on how big the print run is, on how hard they're going to push a book. Publishers can always do more than writers. But books still sell one at a time. Every time you, as an author, do something that leads to a sale, it helps. Maybe your efforts can't compete with a publishing sales rep who manages to get your books into Wal-Mart, but an author's efforts, both tangible and intangible, do help.

It comes down to whether or not you think your efforts are worth the time and money you spend on them. That depends on your goals.

My goal is to sell as many books as possible. That means taking some control over the situation, not leaving my fate completely up to my publisher.

Luck plays a huge part in success. But persistent people seem to get luckier.

Amy: I have to comment on Sheila( tequila-for-sheila). Has her replacement been paid for yet? How's that working out?

Joe:I did finally buy Leela, her replacement. She's not quite paid for, but the donations are still trickling in. BTW, my wife isn't allowed to touch Leela.

All authors need a GPS. We should all be visiting bookstores, meeting booksellers, signing stock and/or suggesting orders. A GPS makes finding these bookstores easier.

Booksellers consider a signed book a sold book. Signed books can still be returned, but they have a better chance of selling. Not only is a signature added value for the buyer, but signed books areusually displayed face out, which brings more attention to them.

Amy: Well, I'd like to thank Joe for stopping by but we have to go now because I promised him a beer!

Joe: Thanks! I'm about ready for another round of eggs as well. While I'm indulging in dairy foods and alcohol, I encourage all of your readers to buy my very scary horror novel, Afraid, written under my pen name, Jack Kilborn. If you like scary, you'll like Afraid. I promise. :)

5 comments:

Amy said...

Great interview! I love Scary anything, I will have to check it out :D Thanks!

Journey on! by Kelleye said...

Wow I felt like I was there! What a cool interview! I guess ~Afraid~ is really scary! Not just a little scary?..?? With that "Very Scary Horror Novel" statement- hahaha
I must go find some green food myself now that I have been reminded I ham hungry!;)

Karen from Mentor said...

Amy,
Thanks for having Joe today. I enjoyed the soundtrack to wicked being the choice for today music wise.

Also, now I have Jessie's girl stuck in my head. It was a twofer.

See you on the tour.
Karen

JA Konrath said...

Thanks so much for having me here, Amy.

joandelahaye said...

Cool Interview and I love the sound track! You have such a lovely blog!

Joan De La Haye
http://joandelahaye.wordpress.com/