Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Publicist Danielle Jackson Is In Da Lair!

posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary

One of the nicest perks of being a Sourcbooks Casablanca author is working with my very own publicist! Okay, so she's really assigned to ALL the Casablanca authors, but I ADORE working with her, and all of us in the Casa line know how very fortunate we are to have her in our corner.

I'm talking about the lovely and vivacious Danielle Jackson, of course! She works tirelessly to get the word out about all the Casablanca romances, whether it is sending out Advance Review Copies of our books, or writing killer Press Releases for us.

Aunty twisted Danielle's ar... er, um, CONVINCED Danielle to pay a visit to the Lair and answer all our questions (and I know we have MANY) about promotion and publicity! So with the help of my fellow Banditas, I started out by grill... er, um, asking Danielle a few questions...

AC: Please give us a bit of your background and what led you to become a book publicist. Any advice for others seeking a similar career?

DJ: I’ve always been a reader—my parents would joke with me because even if we went somewhere 10 minutes away, I had a book in the car and they’d ask me how to get home and I wouldn’t know how to direct them! That love for books carried all through high school and into college, where I was an English major, history minor with a French concentration. A lot of reading, a lot of writing and a lot of discussing books, history social commentary etc. Around my junior year I began to look into publishing, had a couple of internships with an online publication, a magazine and at a publishing house—Sourcebooks! The rest is history.

AC: What is the “best” part of your job?

DJ: I work with some of the hardest working authors I know in the business! They keep me laughing and also keep things VERY positive all the time. And I have to mention the publicity department at Sourcebooks—there are 8 publicist working very hard an all the books we put out each season, and they are the BEST co-workers I could ask for.

AC: The worst?

DJ: I HATE getting bad reviews in for “my” authors’ books. Even though I know they will eventually find them, I do my best to hide them, haha! (Aunty's note: Danielle is very good at hiding them!) However, even when a negative review comes in, it makes me work harder to find the perfect niche audience for that particular book. There is always someone out there that will read AND like your books, and it is my job to find that person!

Bandita A: In your opinion, what role does publisher promotion play in propelling a book onto the bestseller lists?

DJ: In my experience with Sourcebooks (before I worked on romance, I did some radio PR and worked with all kinds of books from children’s to how –to’s), publisher PR is very important. We make sure books are sent to the appropriate pre-publication reviewers and long-lead time reviewers, and of course, continue on to all available places for review. I think that a publisher should have high goals for all its books and they should put support behind them!

Bandita B: Self-promotion is hard work and for that reason, many authors don't do much of it. How important is it for new and "midlist" authors to promote themselves?

DJ: I cannot agree more that self-promotion is hard work! Sometime I feel like I sent out emails to the authors asking them to write so many guest blogs, or so many interviews and I wonder, do they have time to write their new books? I hope so!!

It is BEYOND important for new and midlist authors to promote themselves—be it contacting local media on their own, blogging, or handing out postcards or book marks in the grocery store. You never know who might be standing next to you or who you might bump into! But most importantly, a collaborative effort between you and your publisher, as I do with my authors, spreads the knowledge of your book.

Bandita C: Short of getting a marketing degree, how can we get smarter about our own publicity? What things should an author do to promote him/herself? Which choices will likely get the best results for the time and money we have available?

DJ: One idea is to look at some of your favorite authors—where are they being reviewed or interviewed? I know, I know, how could you get the same level of PR of Nora Roberts or Jodi Picoult, right? But look around—their books are probably being reviewed on a lot of the same site or blogs as yours!

I think author blogs, especially of the romance vernacular, are amazing, because it is such a warm community to belong to, and you can all help one another out. Also, if you see a small personal blog that looks fun, email them and ask them if they’d like a review copy. Chances are, they will fall all over themselves to hear from you! Most bloggers can’t believe that a publicist would contact them; think of what might happen if YOU, a real live author, did!

As for promo materials, I personally like postcards better than bookmarks because there’s more room for information, but bookmarks and business cards do seem to go over well. Postcards are fun for mailing and to leave places.

Once you do start to get in reviews, interviews, etc., creating a personalized press kit is a great idea (and something new I’ve discovered authors doing). I usually create a media profile or buzz sheet for each of my authors as the season progresses and share that with them. This way everyone has relevant information and together we can continue the “noise” about your book!

Bandita D: How should we begin to "think" about publicity and generating it, even before we're published? Is there anything the unpubbed can do to set ourselves up in a good position to be able to help our publicist/house once we sell?

DJ: Getting your name out there is the number one initiative for all authors—think of your name as your “brand”—YOU are the one constant from book to book, and people get used to you and your style.

Unpubbed authors can do quite a lot—joining RWA is the BEST way to network, and all of you romance authors are so NICE! (Note from AC: She hasn't seen the Pits of Despair deep in the Lair!) Also, reading and reviewing books is also great, especially if you make friends with the authors your review; you might even be able to get a blurb or two out of one of them. By having connections within the romance community, you are staking out your place for your own book’s release.

Also—you know that random guy you sort of dated when you were 19 that you saw once 4 years ago at the grocery store and found out he works for a local newspaper? Yeah—you should call him and see if you can’t get a local author feature. Random connections like that can turn out to be a huge surprise and can really help out. I’ve had a lot of luck by starting off an email by saying, “your friend/colleague, Author McAuthorson (AC notes: any resemblance to Loucinda McGary is purely coincidental!), let me know that you might be interested in a review copy of her new book!”

Bandita E: What about when it comes to working with an outside publicist? How do the two roles differ? And ideally, what can an outside publicist do for the author that the in-house publicist doesn't have the time, budget or energy for?

I personally have not worked with an outside publicist, but I do know that a few of my colleagues have done this. Their advice is to OVER communicate everything. That’s a rule that I have with my authors anyway—I’d rather you tell me something 5 times all within the same day than not at all!

An outside publicist generally has the time to focus all of their time, budget and energy solely on that one particular author. I work with all of our romance authors, our Austen-sequel authors, and I also do PR for some historical fiction that Sourcebooks is reissuing (Georgette Heyer, Joan Aiken, Margaret Campbell Barnes; just to name a few). The main difference is that there would be one publicist for one author.

However, I think with a lot of organization, a desk full of post-it notes, a dry erase board with schedules on it and a WHOLE LOT OF COFFEE, an in-house publicist with an unbelievable group of proactive, energetic authors can do just about anything, and can achieve the same results as an outside publicist. (AC notes: any resemblance here may not be coincidental!)

AC: If you weren’t a publicist, what would your dream job be?

DJ: This is going to sound totally nerdy, but I would LOVE to be a student again. I enjoy learning. So you know back in the old days when people would aspire to be “scholars” (even though they were usually men and the children of very wealthy people and didn’t have any responsibility in life) –yeah, that’s what my dream job would be.

AC: Hmmm, being the offspring of very wealthy people would be a dream job for me too! Er, um... Thank you, Danielle! But the questions are just beginning!

Now it is YOUR turn! Do you have a question about publicity or promotion for Danielle? If not, care to tell us what your dream job would be?


Shannyn said...

Hi - What is the most important thing a new author can do to help promote her book?

Shannyn said...

Gosh - I guess I'm first. It's been a while, but it looks like the GR is back in Illinois.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

WTG Shanyn!

Danielle won't be checking in for a few hours, since she is fast asleep right now.

I have heard from various sources that a website is the #1 thing an author can do, but we'll see what Danielle's opinion is. Meanwhile, have fun with the GR and do NOT listen to his tales of woe about being forced into servitude. A little housework never killed any chook that *I* ever heard of!


Jane said...

Welcome Danielle,
Do you read all the negative reviews in order to figure out which kind of readers you're trying to reach?

Congrats on the GR, Shannyn.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Danielle - Welcome to the lair. What do you think about newsletters? And what information would you include on an author's website? What sort of things can an author do to make your job easier?

Anna Campbell said...

Shannyn! It's a while since he's visited you, isn't it? He's been quite thoughtful since visiting the jail - perhaps he saw where his delinquent behaviour was headed!

Danielle, thanks so much for visiting us today. What a fascinating lot of information you've put up for all of us. Like Donna, I'd like to know what you think a writer should have in a website and what perhaps they shouldn't. Also I'd like to know what's the most effective publicity campaign you've seen and what's perhaps the least effective and why. It gets mighty expensive doing all this promo - aside from all the time. I'd really like to know I'm targeting my dollars in the best possible spot.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Danielle! Thanks for the terrific interview--I love learning more about how the books I love get into my hands (and how I learn about them!) It does seem like I learn about a lot of books lately through blogs and author blog visits--it does seem potentially time-consuming, so I guess it's always a juggle to balance promotion with more writing :)

As for my dream job, I think it might be something along the lines of book editing... I've worked as a writer and editor for a software company, but I don't know the publishing industry and how their editing processes are set up. As the kids get a bit older, it'll be time to me to do some research :) Anyone need an extra reader? ;)

Congrats on the GR, Shannyn!!

limecello said...

Ack - for the student thing - no you don't!!! Unless it's like elementary school. :P Otherwise it's just too much pressure.
Or... college I guess. Haha. :X no publicity questions... my dream job would be someone who is paid to read what she wants. Second dream job? TRAVELOGUE or food critic. How much do I want to be adopted by Giada de Laurentiis? (And take her travel show?) You have no idea.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

YOU as a book editor? But then you'd have to...... SEND REJECTIONS! CRUSH the dreams of all us poor starving (for publication) writers! Imagine the curses that would be muttered about you. Not that any of US here in the Lair would ever curse an editor who rejected us. (KOFF*KOFF) We are all waaay too mature and worldly for such behavior. :-P


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Great questions Donna and Fo!

My website is the place I've spent the most $$ thus far, so I'll be very curious to hear Danielle's opinion. And anyone else's too! What about it, BBs? What are some things you like about author websites? Or anything you don't like?


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Limecello!
When Giada adopts you, will you still remember all your buddies here in the Lair?!?!


hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

My dream job would be anything that lets me stay at home to work. If that job allowed me to read all the time, so much the better.

Helen said...

Well done Shannyn enjoy your day with the GR

Great interview ladies.
As a reader I love hearing about new authors and their books. I love post card coverflats bookmarks all of that sort of stuff I have a lovely collection thanks to some wonderful authors.

I love visiting blogs and hearing call stories and getting to "know" the author that to me is heaps of fun.

As for a dream job I would love to have my own romance bookstore have authors come and do book signings and have heaps of books to read, my hubby says I would never make any money I would find it to hard to part with my books LOL

Have Fun

PJ said...

Congrats Shannyn! Enjoy your day with the GR!

PJ said...

Welcome Danielle!

I love getting those postcards from authors in the mail. I have a huge collection of bookmarks but I wouldn't part with a single one. I also enjoy author newsletters.

Great interview AC!

PJ said...

OFF-TOPIC: My photos from the Moonlight & Magnolias conference have been fashioned into a video set to music by Maria and Marisa at RNTV. The video, as well as my blog about the conference, are posted today at romancenovel.tv.

There's a terrific sequence of our Bandita Nancy winning the Maggie!

Danielle Jackson said...

Hello banditas and readers! I will do my best to check back often throughout the day! Starting from the top...

Shannyn--I think the most important thing a new author can do is TALK ABOUT YOUR BOOK! To anyone and everyone who will listen! Even if you are shy, tell your co-workers, your friends, your family and then tell them to tell everyone they know!

Danielle Jackson said...

Hi Jane-

I do read the negative reviews. This way I have a better idea of what to send them the next time (if there is a next time). Chances are, our line has something that will fit their likes. We are in the entertainment business, and part of my job is making sure people are getting what they want.

Danielle Jackson said...

Newsletters are sort of hit or miss with me--some people want to know an author's every move, but some peopled don't. But the worst thing someone can do is unsubscribe, so I say go for it!

Websites are awesome and the best way to reach out to readers. I think you should include great reviews, any appearances (on the web, at stores, etc), etc. It is SO important, though, to update your site regularly. Even if you don't have a current book, let the people know something! When you do have a current book--I would update at least once a week. When you don't have a book, then perhaps do it every other week, or once a month.

To make my job easier? TELL ME EVERYTHING! Even if it seems like a dumb idea or a random vacation, let me know--I might have an idea for something to keep you even busier, haha.

Louisa Cornell said...

Hey, Shannyn! Keep your eye on the GR! If he heads for Chicago there could be trouble!

Great interview, Aunty and terrific info, Danielle! Definitely copying all of this down for future reference.

Like you, Aunty, my website is my biggest expenditure so far. AND I am trying to get my nom de plume out there as much as possible so that when some intelligent editor :) finally buys my book I will have some name recognition!!

I agree about the postcards. I have a great collection of them, many of them framed in my writing studio as inspiration.

Some things that I love on author websites are - stories of what inspired the book, neat research facts the author came across, photos of the author's travels - especially if they are tied into the books. Charities the author supports. I have found that many authors support animal causes and that makes me smile!

Danielle, I can understand completely why being a student could be an ideal job. I LOVE learning new things, studying, researching. One of my hobbies is learning new languages - though I don't have as much time for it as I used to.

My ideal job would have to be ROMANCE WRITER!! That is what I am working toward every day. That ties into that work at home thing, that more time to read thing, more time to research thing and more time to study languages - GET THE PICTURE???

Danielle Jackson said...

That last one was for Donna--FYI :)

Content on a website is really up to you the author. If you are comfortable sharing those pictures from your cruise (hint hint Aunty Cindy), then post a few up. But some people like to keep their professional life and personal life separate. Good reviews, appearances, info about upcoming releases are standard.

Sourcebooks Casablanca has seen an ENORMOUS amount of support from the romance reviewing community on the web. Generally it is free (all you have to do is provide a book and hope for the best), and it is so easy to send out an email and ask. You never know who your biggest fan might be!

Bookmarks, postcards, etc. do add up in costs--we(the publishers)usually provide some kind of promo material for our author. I push for postcards, but some like book marks, etc. I think you have to make the choice in how much money you want to spend on that stuff.

But do not underestimate the power of the internet! It is limitless and always changing!

Joan said...

Shannyn! Enjoy the GR!

Welcome Danielle to {deep booming voice} The Lair. I'm sure AC can hook you up with several cabana boys and I'll throw in a gladiator or two.(Do you like to sled?)

Great topic and great advice.

Some questions that came to my mind are:

1. I've heard different opinions of what a press kit should include. What are your thoughts?

2. Ads. My pubbed friends debate the bang for the buck when it comes to ads. RT vs RWR vs Romance Sells. Does it depend on the level you're at? (i.e. debut author or established)

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Danielle (and AC!)--

Thanks for coming by today & sharing this wonderful information!

Here's my question--suppose you're planning to write under a pen name to spare your children the pain of having your love scenes read aloud during study hall. This would mean, of course, that you'd be blowing your own cover should you try to capitalize on personal relationships for marketing purposes. Wouldn't it? I mean, my parents' local newspaper would have no reason to run a story on me unless they could use my real name & tell everybody what year I graduated from high school, right?

So what's your advice for those of us planning an igcognito publishing career?

Maria Lokken said...

This is a great post - with terrific information Danielle.

I think an author's website is extremely important. Once I finish a book I run to the author's site. I will get turned off if the site isn't up to date. I look for a personal story from the author - it doesn't have to be too personal - but a hint of who they are makes my reading experience more enjoyable, and I develop a personal connection with the author that makes me want to buy their next book.

As far as reviews are concerned, I for one keep in mind who the reviewer is. If they've panned books I like - then I know they don't have my taste, and it won't prevent me from buying a book they've given a less than favorable review. I've also read reviews not really knowing the reviewer's taste, where they didn't like the book - but the description they gave made me buy the book anyway. So, I suppose in come cases any PR is better than no one talking about your book.

terrio said...

Hey there, Danielle! I was lucky enough to get an intro with you at RWA Nationals in San Fran and you were so sweet. I'm cheating and haven't read all the comments yet so forgive me if this has been asked, but what would be your advice to as-yet-unpubs attending conferences in the way of promotions? Is it really worth it to pass out those business cards?

M. said...

"Press Kit" sounds very involved and elaborate, "Buzz Sheet" sounds much more like something an aspiring author might be able to construct themselves. What would I put on it, and how long should it be?

Danielle Jackson said...

Hi Joan!

Scantily clad cabana boys AND warriors in skirts? I think I'll stay in the lair a while!

1) Press Kits are all very different--I think a press release is a definite necessity, and perhaps an extended bio. I often create buzz sheets that include the best of the best blurbs you've gotten, be it from other authors or reviews. A synopsis of your book should be in there, and if you're feeling fancy, perhaps the first chapter. If your story has a relevant historical fact, maybe throw that in for fun, too. But the most important thing to get across to the press is why your book is special, who you are and all the GLORIOUS praise you've been getting :)

2)Ads are something we are still figuring out in our department. On one hand, it seems like a great way to reach out to more readers, but is it worth the cost? We haven't seen a significant increase in sales when we've run ads in various publications (RT and RS being the two that spring to mind first). However, it is an option to explore and something to discuss with your publisher. A publisher would be more than likely to place an ad for an established (or on their way to becoming established) author rather than a debut. However, even in that instance, ads aren't the only way to get people to look at your book!

Danielle Jackson said...

Hey Susan--

Using a nom de plume is something that a lot of authors do to avoid such situations as you described. The best thing I can say to remedy that is to attempt to pitch yourself as a local author without going into details. Most authors who do write under another name will admit that they are writing under another name, but they don't have to reveal too much. A few of my authors use different names, and so far it hasn't posed too much of a problem! Most readers and people understand why you would want to use a different name--but if you get to the status of, let's say Nora Roberts and you decide to write new books as JD Robb, you might just have to come clean :) But look at what that's done for her!

Danielle Jackson said...

To everyone who has left comments about their thoughts on PR and their dream jobs--thanks for stopping by! All of your points are very interesting and I hope one day we can all do what we dream about :) I know many of you are doing that now by writing books!!

Danielle Jackson said...

Hey Terrio--

Nice to "see" you again! I think RWA and similar conferences are a great way to meet people already in the business. This past RWA was my first, and it was AMAZING seeing and meeting authors, editors, etc. and talking about romance novels. I think unpublished authors can learn a lot--you can go to the workshops of course, but you can also observe what already published authors are doing. They go to the conferences to network and of course see their friends!

Hand out your business card to everyone you see! I know that when I came back, I had over 75 cards, and everyone received a follow up email, and I've gained a few new reviewers to send our books to, as well as some contacts at publications, etc. You honestly NEVER know who you might talk to at a conference!

jo robertson said...

Welcome to the Lair, Danielle! We've heard so many positive things about your work as Sourcebooks' Casablanca publicist. I'm very impressed with the support Casa gives its authors.

Great interview, Cindy.

Shannyn, congrats on capturing the chook. Hope he enjoys his return to Illinois!

jo robertson said...

Danielle, much is made of the power of an author's website. For the unpubbed writer, however, what recommendations do you have? It's difficult to promote yourself when you don't have a published book to offer. Any suggestions?

Danielle Jackson said...

Hi M--

The way you described press kits and buzz sheets is very close to what they are. Press Kits are kind of like buzz sheets on steroids.

For an author moving their way up--a buzz sheet is a perfect beginning. I would make sure there's an extended author bio, and any relevant info--for example, have you ever written anything that's been published before? Perhaps an article? Letting people know your skills is another great thing!

A buzz sheet is more about the book--the reviews, etc. A press kit is about your brand--aka yourself--and your book just so happens to be a part of that brand.

jo robertson said...

PJ, I just watched the slideshow from the M&M conference (three times!!!) and those pix are wonderful. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Danielle Jackson said...

Hi Jo--

I attended a workshop at RWA Nationals about PR/Marketing for unpublished and published authors and the differences.

A website for an unpublished author is the gateway to getting their name out there. Even when you're sending out queries to agents/editors, one way to let them know how serious you are is through a simple and interesting website. Even when you aren't published, you probably have some material--why not post an excerpt? Also, I cannot stress how important it is to LINK TO OTHER SITES. That review site you love? Your favorite author? Link them on your site and EMAIL THEM WHEN YOU DO! Proper "netiquette" should ensue, and they will link to you (simply ask for that in exchange).

Also, I think reviewing books is a way to get your name out there. I know--you don't have time to review, you're writing your book! But take a weekend and read a book and review it! Post the review, and let people see how you read as well--it offers insight into how you write.

Blogging is great--tell about the journey you are going on as you are trying to get your book published. It might seem like no one is reading, but chances are, someone is out there. Let your friends and family know you're documenting your journey, and as an added perk, you'll talk about your favorite new books out. It's a hard thing to start doing, but the more comfortable you get NOW with talking about yourself, your books, etc., the better suited you will be to do it once your book is in stores!

Treethyme said...

I was very interested in today's blog because, as one of the myriad unpublished romance authors, it's hard to know where to begin marketing, especially when you don't have a book cover to display.

I went ahead and created a professional website (which is still being polished -- my webmaster has the flu).

I added a My Space page after several published authors in my RWA chapter recommended it. I decided that since I can't display my own books, I'd use my site to promote other romance authors books, too.

I went into it with the object of networking and made a point of friending authors whose books I've read and others who are still in my monumental TBR pile.

In only two weeks on My Space, I've connected with an amazing number of fantastic authors. I don't know if it will help my career, but I don't see how it could hurt!

With that in mind, today's blog (Ssssleepless in Cccincinnati) is talking about The Hotties. Who are the guys you'd pick to be stuck in an elevator with? Which hotties have you based your heroes on?

Tell me about them at:

(By the way, I've tried to friend all of you but if I missed anyone, please let me know!)

Cassondra said...

Welcome Danielle!

Thanks so much for your advice and the great blog. I DO have some questions but we're having thunderstorms here today. Will try to find a break between the heavier storms when I have enough time to type. :0/

Shannyn congrats on the rooster! Offline for a bit.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning everyone!

Happy to see that we've all been putting Danielle through her paces. ;-) I warned her...

Seriously, isn't she a fount of info? The woman knows her stuff! Thanx sooo much for being with us today Danielle, and sharing so much great info!

And I suppose we could round up an errant cabana boy and/or gladiator to serve her... LUNCH People! And a drinky if the blenders have recovered from my launch party a few days ago.

Why am I not surprised that many of our dream jobs involve READING? Mine too!

And nice to hear how many people enjoy receiving post cards. If you don't have one of TWS yet, and would like one, please email me.


Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Danielle,

For over 30 years, I've done publicity coverage for all my volunteer projects including our
church and schools. My dream job
would be to take all that volunteer
work and convert it into a "real"

My question: how difficult would it be to accomplish that change-over?

Pat Cochran

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

PJ thanx for sharing your GREAT PIX!

Our M&M Banditas also told great tales of your candies and cookies. We may need you to do a guest blog for us around the holidays and share your ideas. YUM!

Maria, thanx for pointing out that even negative reviews can sometimes work to the author's favor. I don't read many book reviews, but I do read film reviews and tend to be like you. If it is really negative, I might see it just see for myself. ;-)

Treethyme/Becke nice to "see" you and thanx for the link. I'm one of your new "friends" on MySpace.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Danielle said: "If you are comfortable sharing those pictures from your cruise (hint hint Aunty Cindy), then post a few up."

(Aunty blushes daintily) Would you believe I FORGOT my camera on our last cruise? Of course it was our 8th time on the Mexican Riviera so I could just pull out some old photos and nobody would be the wiser. HA!

Like Susan, I'm a bit reluctant to give too much personal info. but everyone seems to find out anyway. *SIGH* At least I have the Yorkie Unholy terrier to defend me in case of stalker-fans. In the words of my favorite Bard, "She is little but she is fierce!"


Cassondra said...

Okay, Danielle. Treethyme and a couple of others have brought up myspace. Our own Tawny blogged about this here a few days ago--about the confusing mire of web networking. There are a ton of these social networking sites. If I participated in all of these--and actually PARTICIPATE--I won't have time to write.

So how do you choose? Are the distant social contacts you make by "friending" everyone in the universe a significant way to boost sales? Is one better than the rest?

Also, with regard to blogging, (not blogging to launch a book, but regular everyday blogging to maintain a presence and a connection)--do you suggest a blog attached to a website in ADDITION to a group blog like the Romance Bandits or the Casablanca blog? Or is it better for an author to have one "home base" for a blog presence? Should an author attempt to address different stuff on the group blog than she does on the personal blog--in other words, set up sort of a protocol--"this is my personal life ramble, while this other one is my monthly reach out with a big article..." Any thoughts on all this web presence and how to organize it to make sense to yourself and to readers, and still allow yourself time to write the BOOKS?

Thanks again for your insights!

flchen1 said...

AC, I could never do that!! I'm not sure I'd be good at doing the rejecting... see, I don't actually know who all the people in the book production chain are--I was thinking more like the person who reads and proofreads and copy edits and suggests changes if stuff is wrong or if a plot point doesn't make sense and that sort of thing... Is that the same editor who does it all (including the rejecting?)? If so, I guess I've still got lots to learn!

Keira Soleore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keira Soleore said...

Danielle, welcome to The Lair. Let our warm welcome wipe away the last traces of AC's arm-twis... er, cajoling.

AC, you sure do have the best team at Sourcebooks. We met your editor and now your publicist. And hah! I don't believe Danielle had to work hard to work hard to hide your negative reviews, since there were none.

DHow wonderful to be working in such a positive environment: coworkers and authors, not to mention hundreds of bookssss. It's refreshing to hear that a publisher is willing to support and publicize all its authors. And oooh, thanks much for all the tips for unpubbed writers.

My dream job would be to be Anna Campbell: two enormously successful books under the belt, two RITA finals, a grrrreat group of buddies to blog with, legions of fans, a cheerful smile, and a cheerier laugh. Yes'm. I want to be Anna Campbell when I grow up (and oh, throw in some Louisa, too.)

Nancy....CONGRATULATIONS!!! Saw your pictures by PJ at the Moonlight and Magnolias conference, particularly, your fabulous news! Hooray. One more win chalked up by the talented Banditas.

Shannyn, hooray on the Chook. Reading back through the other blog posts, it looks like Chookie didn't make it out to the conference this weekend. He seems to be partial to National, but not any of the others. Hm.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Welcome to our Lair, Danielle! We've been looking forward to having you join us. (Just watch out for half-naked cabanna boys serving drinks and Gladiators guarding some dangerous places like "the pits of despair" or the writer's cave!)

I'm interested in knowing what the pre-launch schedule for each book you do. Does it start 6 months before? or one?

Anna Campbell said...

Gosh, Keira, I don't think ANYONE has ever wanted to be me before! What a lovely compliment! And you're not too bad on the killer smile/laugh stakes either, m'dear!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Glad those thunder storms let up a little so you could rejoin us!

Fedora, sounds like you wanna be a copy editor. You don't have to read the slush pile and reject stuff, just pretty up the stuff that is already bought. Probably a little too much detail work for me. I'd get caught up in the story and forget to look for punctuation and grammar. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Keira on wanting to be Fo when you grow up! I think several of us wouldn't mind that role. :-)

Yes, I know I'm very fortunate to have such a great team at Sourcebooks. Also a great group of "Sister" authors! You've already met Marie Force and I'll be guesting a couple more Casa authors in Nov.

And much as I'd like to believe I've had no negative reviews, I think Danielle has been very VERY good at hiding them thus far...

It appears Danielle was called away to her DDJ (dreaded day job), but since she may be hiding bad reviews even as I type, I won't complain! Please check back later when I hope she can rejoin us and answer more questions.


Louisa Cornell said...

I concur with LaCampbell, Keira! You have a fabulous smile, an infectious laugh and an incredible fashion sense!

I too would love to be La Campbell when I am a grown up writer! Who wouldn't?? And did anyone mention that lovely home on the coast of Australia? Sigh!

Keira Soleore said...

Bwa ha ha ha. That cackle you mean? Sure, yes, uh-huh. There hasn't been a joke or a bad pun I have met that I haven't laughed at.

Louisa, yes, that lovely home on the Oz coast, that coloring on whom the red-red lipstick looks gorgeous, and all the Tim-Tams you can eat. Sigh! I want to be Fo.

Jennifer Y. said...

Long time, no see, Banditas!

Loved the interview with Danielle. Danielle was a guest recently on my own blog and I loved having her...she is so nice. I have already told her that she has my dream job...lol. I'd love to do PR for authors. Or be an author's assistant...or be a book editor...something in the publishing industry would work for me.

Anna Campbell said...

Goodness, you gals are great for my ego. I've been out in the yard doing all the things (well, some of the things) that I haven't been doing while I've been in the cave and I look like death warmed up! So it was nice to get the smile! :-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

HI Danielle! I'm late joining the party but WOW and thanks for all the wonderful advice. Ive been taking notes...

AC, great interview!

Danielle Jackson said...

Hi everyone! thanks for all the comments--I apologize for the delay in my responses!


How great to already have such a passion for PR. I'm not quite sure how to start up on your own; I sort of happened upon publicity as my current mode of employment but it is something that I grow to love more and more each day. I would say keep at it! I'm sure there are small PR firms or marketing consultants that would answer your questions!

Danielle Jackson said...

Cassondra--At RWA National in SF this year, Kelley St. John gave a great workshop about promotions. She spends a couple of hours once a week working on her social networking--she checks her myspace page and ads the friend requests she gets, and if there is something (a radio interview, big store event, great review, etc) she posts an alert. She updates the page as books come out, but that's it!

As to how many blogs--I know this is a question my authors have had as well...do people really read them? I think that they do (even though they don't always comment)! I don't know if having a personal blog and a group blog makes a huge difference, the important thing is to do it regularly and make sure you're connecting with your readers.

I know many authors who post the same information on their personal blogs and on their group blogs. I also know authors who use their personal blogs solely for sharing reviews, listing events, etc--and making note that they also blog on a group blog.

The most important thing I can say, which might not answer your question, is to find what is comfortable for you. Some people can come up with blogs quickly--others have writers block. If you need to take a break, let people know! And NEVER let your promoting get in the way of your craft!! I know it seems impossible: between telling everyone you know about your book, printing business cards, handing out postcards/bookmarks, blogging at least a few times a week AND meeting your deadline!!! Yeesh.

The NUMBER ONE rule I have for my authors is that they have fun. Even when things are behind schedule and seem stressful, they better do something to make each other laugh :)And I try my best to do that with them as well!!

Danielle Jackson said...

Hey Suzanne--

A great question about the pre-launch schedule! Just to give you a little idea:

6 months out: the authors and publicists are "introduced" by email and possibly a follow up call by our dept. manager. They are given an overview of how things work, and when we speak, I give them my plans.

5-4 months out: ARCs (advanced reader copies) arrive, and I get them sent out to pre-publication reviewers (Kirkus, PW, Booklist, Library Journal, ForeWord, etc.) as well as bigger review sites that need a long time (ie Fresh Fiction, Romance B(u)y the Book, The Romance Studio, All About Romance, etc.) Any I have left over after that I keep to send to reviewers that I know will review a particular book (it changes from book to book, genre, etc).

Then we wait for what feels like an eternity for review.

2 months out-- hopefully a review comes in (AC will tell you that sometimes it doesn't happen this far in advance!!)--I can create a press release and send it to outlets. And it's at this point that I ask authors to start self-promoting in anyway. Setting up a few guest blog spots, finding any more reviewers through their own contacts, what local media they want me to contact, etc.

1 month-This is when the insanity starts. I generally have finished copies and can send it to smaller bloggers/sites that have a quick turn around time and also get interivews/guest blogs/articles set up for the authors to work on.

2-3 weeks to launch: Reviews start to come in and post on sites. aiming for something to run each day for at least the week before the launch.

Launch week: Reviews/guest blogs/interviews/etc. up the WAZOO for a strong first week.

Beyond: one last follow up to reviewers who will continue the buzz.

The entire time: Not going insane, breathing and relishing in the great reviews and guest blogs!

Aaaaah--i hope that helped! It sounds like such a free for all and being at the mercy of reviewers, but I can usually butter people up enough to give me dates :)

Danielle Jackson said...

Just wanted to say thanks again for having me in the lair Banditas! I have a blast and I'm sorry my responses were insanely long! But I hope that helps out! I wish you all great luck and success in your publishing endeavors.

And a special thanks to Aunty Cindy for always keeping me laughing--you're book is awesome and I'm so glad that I got to read it before everyone (tee hee) and that we've been able to work together. :)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HUGE thanx to Danielle and thanx to everyone who commented and made her feel at home!