Friday, July 20, 2007
Interview with Larry Moniz
What inspired you to write Self-Promotion for Authors?
I was a journalist and publicist for 35 years before becoming disabled by breathing problems. When I decided to pursue book writing as a new career direction, I joined several different forums. While working on my first mystery novel, INSIDE STORY: Murder in the Pinelands, I was bothered that so many newbie book authors had no real clue about how to market themselves. Many were and are devoting massive amounts of time in unproductive efforts--unproductive in that they are one-on-one efforts between themselves and prospective buyers. I've done the math and it's physically impossible for a new author to sell sufficient books to earn a living or even have a nominal bestseller with such promotional methods.
Having handled publicity for several authors and publishing houses, including nearly half a decade as PR agency counsel for Harlequin Books, as well as having been a journalist on the receiving end of promotion techniques by other professional book industry publicists, I felt I had some meaningful insights to share. However, it was another writer friend, Lea Schizas, founder of the annual Muse Online Conference who provided me with that final spark. After her first conference she suggested via e-mail that I do a brochure on how to self-promote a book. At that point I realized a brochure just couldn't properly cover the topic.
I also realized that I didn't want to set myself up as the sole authority on how to promote oneself. That's really what it's all about. Novels typically have a shelf life of only two or three months in most bookstores. An author must promote their name rather than a particular title.
I started encountering some other authors who had invaluable information to impart, but it was not reaching newbie authors in a cohesive fashion. There would be a forum comment here or there, a website posting of tips in another location. Essentially new authors were in a hit/miss situation. Additionally, there is a massive amount of misinformation being advanced as gospel by people who have never worked as publicists nor, in some cases, even had writing published.
The result was Self-Promotion for Authors, which is a compilation of my experiences and those of eleven other published authors, some quite well known, like Tim Bete; J.A. Konrath; Jonathan Maberry, 2007 winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel; Publisher Karen L. Syed; Robert J. Sawyer, Best Novel Hugo and Nebula Award Winner and Robert W. Walker. Their consenting to be included greatly enhanced the knowledge base contained in my book.
What’s your experience with promotions as a publicist?
I have 15 years experience as a senior public relations executive and wrote the first public relations program for Coleco's Cabbage Patch Kids. That publicity campaign subsequently won the Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America. The Silver Anvil is recognized as the most prestigious award in public relations.
My public relations skills are augmented by being an experienced journalist and winner of 12-business writing awards (including seven first places) for articles in 2000 through 2003 competitions.
I also have 20-years experience as a skilled radio, daily and weekly newspaper publisher, editor and reporter for major media outlets in New Jersey, New England and Europe.
What’s your experience with promotions as an author?
An author who fails to promote sufficiently will fail to sell enough books to earn a living, and will short-circuit their opportunity to be picked up by a publisher for a second or third book. To be successful an author needs to spend 20 percent of their time writing and 80 percent promoting.
What will folks find in your book they won’t find in other marketing books?
Perspective and a professional viewpoint based on 35-years successful experience in the media.
What’s next for you?
Currently I'm reworking, enlarging and updating a manuscript I originally drafted in 1996 entitled ESCAPE INTO HISTORY: Declared Rebellion. It's about two former special operatives who travel back in time to foil a Tory plot to prevent the Declaration of Independence from being written. I'm also beginning work on the second INSIDE STORY book. The first will be available in November from Swimming Kangaroo Books. I also have about a half dozen other novel concepts just waiting to be penned.
Learn more about Larry and his books at www.LarryMoniz.org