Friday, March 16, 2007
SPECIAL GUEST: Glenda Watson Hyatt, Author of "I'll Do It Myself"
Pump Up Your Online Book Promotion has a really special guest today. I'm proud to have Glenda Watson Hyatt, author of I'll Do It Myself: A Collection of Memories from a Woman Living with Cerebral Palsy on her last stop of her virtual book tour! You can't miss Glenda as she's all over the blogosphere, being interviewed by everyone. Everywhere I went, Glenda was there. Put "virtual book tour" in any blog search engine and guess what you get!
Out of curiosity, I wanted to see who this Glenda was and how she could find the stamina to tour 40 blogs in 40 days, and when I did find her, I was in awe of how much she has done and how far she has gone despite having cerebral palsy. I'm telling you, the woman is awesome and I'm so proud to know her.
Dorothy: Welcome to PUMP UP YOUR ONLINE BOOK PROMOTION, Glenda! So glad you could stop by. Being as this is the last stop on your tour, aren't you exhausted?
Glenda: Oh, yes! I am looking forward to reacquainting myself with my bed for an extended period of time!
Dorothy: LOL, I don't blame you! I was on a virtual book tour last November...I didn't stop on as many blogs as you did; but when it was over, I felt like I was hit with a mack truck! Don't anyone ever tell you virtual book tours can't be exhausting because they most assuredly can. I also organize virtual book tours for my clients and I believe that organization is the key to its success. How do you feel about that, Glenda? How did you organize 40 blogs in 40 days without losing your mind?
Glenda: I must confess that I wasn't as organized and prepared as I would have liked; my new blog still had "wet paint" signs up and I had only four dates confirmed when I started out on this amazing journey. Now that is a leap of faith! However, had I had all the dates booked before heading out, I could not have been interviewed by bloggers who I met along the tour. That spontaneity added to the excitement of the adventure!
Dorothy: How neat, Glenda. Then, you're saying that as your tour was running, you met even more bloggers willing to host you! I should be talking...I'm one of them! *smile* So, what else did you do?
Glenda: I did use a spreadsheet to track dates, bloggers' names, email addresses, blog URLs, and locations. Eventually I added my schedule of appearances so that bloggers interested in hosting an appearance could see which dates were available and then click on the link to email me. The challenge was keeping the schedule updated, as well as doing everything else necessary for the tour.
Dorothy: Very, very impressive. What's really neat is that I also keep separate spreadsheets for all my authors on tour (something I didn't think about doing when I went on tour for myself last November and it was craaazy), but you went one step further and posted them on your blog for a handy reference in case someone wanted to follow the entire tour from the beginning to end. Very impressive and an idea I might borrow..;o)
Tell me, what's the bottom line on these virtual book tours from your experience. Do you think it's the perfect way for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to go on an extended physical tour to get the same exposure?
Glenda: Yes, I think it is a great way of doing a book tour. For me, the logistics of getting me AND my electric scooter to all the places I visited virtually would have been a nightmare! Not to mention the money saved! Another benefit is the virtual book tour interviews will always be available, so people (or media) may read them months from now. However, authors need to be comfortable networking and interacting in the virtual world, and some computer skills are necessary for a virtual book tour to be successful.
Dorothy: Very interesting. One of the things I think authors don't realize is that they really are saving a lot of money doing it this way, even if they have to hand out books in some cases. And, another way of looking at it is that there are more and more people than ever on the Internet. It's just too convenient to pick up a credit card and order something online, as opposed to jumping in your car and heading out to the bookstore. You're hassling with traffic, bumping into people, and then unless you call ahead and reserve your book, it's no guarantee it's going to be in there. Last year, I heard one of my articles had appeared in a national magazine and I trapsed all over the city - rummaging through three bookstores - and I never did find the magazine. That's one reason why I hate to shop. If I know the product is going to be in the store, or at least I'm pretty sure, I'll go out. But, online shopping has become a part of my life and a part of a million other consumers. So, if you can tap into that market, which virtual book tours most assuredly can, then you've got no choice than to be successful. Speaking of virtual book tours, what other ways have you promoted your book?
Glenda: Since my book was released in mid-December, this virtual book tour has been my first major promotion strategy. Prior to its release, I printed the book blurb on postcards and handed them out; I mailed a few. I had a monthly book update that included a brief excerpt. Now that the book is out, I need to rethink the format of that e-newsletter in order to retain my current readership and to increase readers. I even fastened a sign to the back of my electric scooter: "Curious about me? Read my book http://www.booksbyglenda.com/". The responses were amazing! One time in Best Buy, I was in the store for less than five minutes when I saw my site up on an employee workstation!
Dorothy: OMG, girl, you've hit upon a goldmine there! I've heard of putting these signs on cars, but scooters? Of course! I know I'd HAVE to stop by and talk to you. What a way of getting attention...you get my two thumbs up on that one! I know this is a dumb question being as you're a whiz at promoting your book, but I have to ask. Did you ever, at some point, consider hiring someone to do all this promotion for you?
Glenda: No, not at all. I'm operating on a shoestring budget, a thinly worn shoestring, so hiring someone wasn't an option. Besides, I feel the promotion is part of the journey in making my dream reality. By handing off the promotion, I would be missing out on part of my dream – and missing out on learning so much and meeting such interesting and supportive people.
Dorothy: Well, now, Glenda, you're the perfect candidate for being your own publicist. You've realized what power online marketing has, you've learned how to grab onto that power and make it work for you. I'm so proud of you! What's been the biggest challenge for you in regards to promoting your book?
Glenda: Really, I have only begun promoting my book, so I haven't hit a major challenge yet. Although, I am hoping the media takes some interest soon; that might take a concentrated effort on my part.
Dorothy: I think that is the hardest part of a marketing plan that an author has. I interviewed Publicist Stacey J. Miller a few blog posts back about this very thing and she gave me some very helpful pointers in that direction. Branding yourself is very important, which you've already done. If you're not going through a publicist and are doing it yourself, why not let them come to you? My suggestion for you to do would be to write articles on your subject. They don't have to be long - 400 to 700 words is a good length - and send them off to as many content ezines as you can find. Get your name out there in the cybersphere. Send out press releases every single month...keep your name in the public eye because you never know who that public might be.
A few months ago, I had the editor of the celebrity tabloid, "OK!," call me on the phone and ask my opinion on a subject he was writing about. My quote ended up in the next Thursday's edition. As I act on my own behalf publicity-wise, I know it was because he found me on the Internet. Had I not been committed 100% to getting my name out there in the cybersphere, this wouldn't have happened. You just never know. Keep a concentrated effort on online promotion, and who knows, an editor from a national magazine or the producer of a radio show or TV show could be checking out this amazing woman he's heard of over the Internet who has this fantastic story that they just have to have. If you do this, it may take time, but you'll see successful results.
On another subject, I'd like to talk to you about self-publishing. Your book, I Can Do It Myself, is self-published as we all know. What do you believe was the hardest thing about self-publishing?
Glenda: The hardest thing was deciding which printing option to go with. I did a fair bit of research and asking questions, and gradually narrowed down my options. There was definitely much to learn and many details to keep track of by self-publishing, but I am glad I went that route, at least, initially.
Dorothy: Why didn't you go the traditional route of publishing?
Glenda: There were a few reasons I didn't go the traditional publishing route. First, finding a publisher is a job by itself that can take years. I wanted to focus my time and energy on writing the best possible book, not on finding a publisher. Once the manuscript was completed, I didn't want to have to wait to put it out there. I had the sense my book needed to get out there sooner rather than later.
Second, I liked having complete control over my story and how it was told. I read about authors who really wanted to include segments in their books, but publishers had the final word. Even Sean Connery couldn't include photos in his book like he wanted to. Finally, unless you are a well-known author or have a large platform, you make only pennies per book, and the publisher promotes the book for only a few weeks after the release and then it's up to the author. I figured if I was going to end doing most of the promotion anyway, I might as well self-publish to control how my story was told and make more money per book. It only made sense to me.
Dorothy: Well, all I can say is you are incredible. A pillar of success. What's next for the incredible Glenda Watson Hyatt?
Glenda: Thank you for your kind words. Once I catch up on my sleep, I have a few other projects percolating. I have a magazine article due at the end of March. And I would like to put the lessons learned from this virtual book tour into an ebook. Meanwhile, I wait for the seed of my next big dream to be planted.
Dorothy: Thank you for stopping by, Glenda. I sure do wish you much success with your book and a continued path of happiness! Happy sales to you!
Glenda: Dorothy, thanks so much for hosting the final stop on my virtual book tour. It has been great talking about the promotion aspect of this journey. Thank you!
Dorothy: There you have it....an incredible woman. Please stop by her "PUMPED UP" blog at http://www.doitmyselfblog.com/!
Tags: How to Pump UP Your Blog to Sell More Books, online book promotion, online marketing, Glenda Watson Wyatt, book publicity, I'll Do It Myself