For our first book marketing author interview, I talked with author / blogger / jewelry guru Tammy Powley about her now somewhat unusual experience with book marketing: publishers who do the bulk of the work. While publishers increasingly expect authors to be more hands-on with their book publicity and marketing efforts, they do still play an important role with many authors (even if just trying to convince them in your book proposal that you have what it takes to do your part to market your book if and when it's published). Let's learn a little bit about Tammy and her thoughts on book marketing on the Web.
What niche do you write in, and do you self-publish, e-publish, work through publishers, or some combination (if through a publisher, who is your publisher)?
My niche is jewelry and jewelry making. I publish via hardcopy and digital media. For my books, I have worked with a couple of publishers: Quarry, Wiley & Sons, and Thomson Course Technology. In the past, I have freelanced with a few hardcopy jewelry magazines, but I haven’t had the time over the past few years. Other than books, most of my writing work is published through media networks (About.com, Creative Weblogging, b5media.com, [and] Next New Networks).
What books have you published to date, and are you working on anything new at the moment?
I’m working on a metal clay book right now. I may have another book in the works later in the year, but that’s all very sketchy at this point. My other books include:
- Making Designer Mixed Media and Memory Jewelry
- Making Designer Seed Bead, Stone, and Crystal Jewelry
- Making Designer Bead and Wire Jewelry
- Jewelry Making and Beading for Dummies
- Making Designer Gemstone and Pearl Jewelry
You're a nonfiction author. What kind of steps did you take prior to writing your first book - in other words, what did you do to help you build expertise in your niche to a point where you appealed to publishers?
My site at About.com – http://jewelrymaking.about.com – has really brought me most of my work. I’ve been writing there for 9 years, and that’s how many editors have found me. It’s been a great way to get to know people in my niche, so though I’ve been very spoiled and haven’t had to do much in the way of soliciting work, when I do contact an editor first, she usually knows who I am because of my About.com site.
Do you still run websites and blogs in the same niche as your books? Do you ever promote your books through them?
I have a number of blogs and sites. You can see them all linked on http://www.tammypowley.com And, yes, when I can I do promote my books there. In fact, that is really one reason I started blogging, as a way to promote my writing.
Do you do any other kind of online book marketing, like participating in newsgroups and forums or maintaining your own site(s) for your books?
No, I guess that would be very clever to have a site specifically for each book, but I don’t have the time. I do have a page on my tammypowley.com site where I list and link to my books. I have a forum connected to my About.com Jewelry Making site, but I don’t promote myself there as it’s against company policy. My job is to guide and support users, so it would not be appropriate to use it as a promotional tool.
You mentioned to me previously that your publisher does the bulk of the marketing for your books. If you were to someday be more hands-on with book publicity efforts, what kinds of book marketing tactics would you be interested in pursuing?
Since I’m so web-oriented, a web site or blog directly associated with the book would be the easiest thing for me to do. I know that I could attend related conventions and hobby shows, but I’m not much of a traveler, and even if I was, I just don’t have the type of life that allows me to leave home for extended periods of time.