Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels have sold in the millions, making her Jersey girl character a household name. Evanovich is a blue-collar author, advocating hard, daily work for author success. As someone with a down-to-earth attitude about the world of writing, she's always happy to help out new authors with great tips. When asked about how to get books into the public's eye, she gave some valuable advice.
What's Most Important When Trying to Get Noticed?
I think a really good website is really important. But it can't be boring and static, it's got to be entertaining. If your site never changes, people will only stop by once. And what good is that? Make your site interesting, and add new material on a regular basis.
A newsletter is very important, also. Collect the email addresses and names of people who like your work. Keep them updated about your books, your life, and what you've been doing. Fans love to get a glimpse inside your life. Give them a small peek.
What's Your Secret for Selling Books?
First, you have to have a great cover. That grabs the reader before anything else. After that, you need to use promotions that treat your readers as intelligent people. Attitude goes a long way. You have to respect and love your readers, and show that feeling in everything you do. If you respect them and treat them as intelligent human beings, then everyone is going to make money and be happy.
What Can Kill a Book Promotion?
As soon as you start thinking you're doing the reader a favor, it's going to stop working. I see this all the time. Struggling bookstores or authors don't understand that one basic concept: you need to suck up to the reader. Books basically sell by word of mouth, and readers will make or break your sales. Never pass up any opportunity to make your readers feel great for choosing your books. They're the ones doing you a favor, after all.
What's Your Writing Process?
I work all the time. I still don't feel completely comfortable; I still worry about disappointing my readers. With every new book, I'm anxious that it won't meet their expectations. So I keep on the way I always have. I wake up and get my coffee and my cat, then go into my office and get back into the world of Stephanie Plum. I love the process. It's not about the money, it's more about growing the audience.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!