Laura Pepper Wu
Marketing expert, writer, entreprenette, blogger — Laura Pepper Wu is almost everything there is to be in this publishing industry and I convinced her (it wasn’t all too hard; she’s super nice) to share some pretty damn good services and sites she runs to help authors boost their braning, marketing success, careers and in the end: sales.
*Rubs hands together* Let’s begin …
What does 30 Day Books offer writers?
30 Day Books sole (and soul!) purpose is to help fill a gaping hole that exists for self-published authors.
During the crazy indie publishing revolution that happened over the last few years, a huge struggle for most independent authors began to surface; how to effectively promote their books and find readers. Unfortunately it’s a pretty darn ma-husive problem to have, and one that takes many new authors completely by surprise.
With marketing budget cuts and staff shortages at publishers, it’s even necessary for traditionally published authors to promote their own work these days too, and I also interact with authors from small and mid-sized presses who are taking on this challenge themselves. It’s simply the new reality.
The 30 Day Books team (my hubby and I) aim to share actionable tips, advice, tools, resources and technology that we have found to be useful in our experience of marketing our own books over the last three years. We also try to deliver it in a fun and digestible way. We offer free (Novel Girl’s emphasis here – woo!) content on the blog, through downloadable PDFs, and our “oh so popular” magic Monday marketing tips newsletter goes out to our mailing list each Monday. We are also transitioning from paid one-on-one coaching to video tutorials and digital products.
I’m really excited to chat about Ladies Who Critique because I found a critique partner through your AWEsome site. Okay. The ‘What’:
So happy to hear that! It’s something I hear often which confirms my feeling that there really was a need for a critique-partner finding site.
While 30 Day Books is a for-profit business (my bread and vegan butter), I started Ladies Who Critique last summer as a hobby/passion project. I was writing a book at the time and wanted some critique partners to help me whip it into shape. I was finding it hard to keep up with my weekly writers group that met every Saturday for 3–4 hours, and thought that finding a partner online would help me find time to work on the novel during the week, while holding me accountable too. I put a request on Facebook for a critique partner and was inundated with replies from other writers who were in a similar boat!
Ladies Who Critique
Within a couple of weeks, and with the help of my husband, I set up a WordPress site with a forum and social network-style plugin that allows people to request and search for critique partners with similar interests and critiquing styles. Ta dah… Ladies Who Critique was born! We’ve had 900+ members join since then (men and women) and it’s a great community of writers.
Since it is just a hobby site and I never expected it to grow so big so fast, there is room for improvement on the technical end as the number of members is slowing down the site! I’m hoping to make the necessary changes to the site this fall as well as add some new snazzy features, so watch this space
In case you’re a superhero, are there any other sites and or services you run for writers?
You mean you haven’t seen my Wonder Woman outfit? ;p
I have a small group of authors that I help with their marketing and promotions on an individual basis. I help design and create author websites, reach out to media and the press on their behalf, advise on their Amazon and social media presence, and come up with marketing strategies and timelines that work for them and their books. I ADORE this one-on-one work done over Skype and email, but unfortunately there are only so many hours in the day! (Even Wonder Woman agrees).
As well as time constraints, one-on-one consulting is not a financially viable option for everyone. I want to help as many authors as possible navigate the choppy seas of book marketing and come out on the other side smiling. So this past summer (US summer, Rebecca, I know it’s still winter in Oz!) I began putting together digital tools and videos that can reach a much wider audience at a much lower cost than hourly consults. We’re launching these very, very soon!
Oh go on, tell us more about your brandspanking new offers! Can I grab the exclusive scoop on what you’re launching?
NEW service for authors! Click for details ^^^
Okay okay, you’ve twisted my arm! As I hinted above, I’ve been working hard on a set of digital tools. The umbrella name for these products is Authorlicious. The first two to land are:
1. The Authorlicious WordPress Theme + how to use WordPress video tutorials: For anyone who wants to build an author website using WordPress – > http://www.30daybooks.com/authorlicious-wordpress-theme-preview-page/
2. Fire Up Amazon & Leave It on AutoPilot –> One of the most popular services I offer through 30 Day Books is improving an Amazon listing and visibility in the search results. Fire Up Amazon is a series of video tutorials and PDFs that show authors how to optimize Amazon through a) visibility and b) irresistibility! It’s coming September 2012, you can sign up here! –> http://authorlicious.30daybooks.com/
I’m friends with one of your clients, Lauren Clark, author of Stay Tuned and Dancing Naked in Dixie, who’s super talented, by the way. Any other success stories to rave about whom you represent as publicist?
Aww, Lauren is SUCH a pleasure to work with. She really understands how important building her brand is, and is always willing to get creative and try new marketing ideas. She’s done very well and we have fun together (plus her books are fab!)
I really started in publicity accidentally. My husband had a self-published book available through the usual online channels but he also had a very busy schedule so I took on the promotions on his behalf. I taught myself everything through books, blogs, and online training programs. Oh, and a lot of trial and error!
I found myself enjoying the publicity/ promotions role immensely, and wasn’t too bad at it, if I can say so myself! We got his book some nice magazine coverage, landed him interviews on sites such as CNN, got the book into the #1 Amazon spot in the GMAT category (beating the GMAT Official Guide!) and sold the Mandarin rights to a publisher in Asia. I then went on to promote my own books. Working with other authors came when several people asked me how I did it, and I fell into coaching and taking on a sort-of publicist role, I suppose.
You can find a list of some of the other lovely authors I’ve worked with here. I am really very lucky to work with some fantastic and talented writers.
Any famous last words, Laura?
Oooh, what pressure!
I talk to authors all the time who feel overwhelmed and frustrated with their book marketing. Well, I’d like to share the fact that I found book marketing and promotions really confusing for a long time, too. With the new online and digital universe, as well as the changes in the publishing industry, it really is a new experience for all of us. It’s still an infant industry and it takes a lot of trial and error to realize what works and what doesn’t in promoting your book and finding an audience for your book.
But somewhere along the line it kind-of clicks. You work out what works for you and your book, along with what doesn’t and never will. And at some point it does become enjoyable. I changed my thought pattern too; some authors lament and whine that they have to learn marketing when all they want to do is write, but I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity and the experience to learn all these new skills that are incredibly valuable in any line of work these days (social media, blogging, branding etc). I hope authors learn to love, or at least enjoy, marketing too, and realize that it will all begin to make some sense with time.
Feel free to email me any time with questions, concerns, or just where to find the best coffee in Seattle! I’m at laura[at]30daybooks.com.
Other places to reach Laura online…
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