Saturday, February 21, 2009

Double Agent / Author

Kim Chatel / Kim McDougall

Kim McDougall (adult fiction)

Kim Chatel (Children's fiction) (I'm about to change this site completely)


"Kim Chatel is a Canadian born author, photographer and fiber artist. She is the author of two books for children, The Stone Beach (Eternal Press) and Rainbow Sheep (Guardian Angel Publishing). Her picture book, A Talent for Quiet, will be out in the fall of 2008 from Guardian Angel Publishing. Kim now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and assortment of animals. Visit her at

A Talent for Quiet

ISBN: 978-1-935137-56-6 PRINT
ISBN: 978-1-935137-57-3 E
ISBN: 978-1-935137-58-0 DVD

Copyright: February 2009

Price: $10.95

Reanie is a shy girl. She has a new step dad whose shoulders seem to fill their small house. Afraid to disappoint him, she retreats to her room whenever Bill asks her to play. But when he invites her on a photo safari in the creek, Reanie can’t resist. As the father and daughter splash through the water, they encounter many creatures. Bill teaches Reanie how to handle a camera, and her new step-dad doesn’t seem so strange anymore.

Illustrated with Kim Chatel’s photography, this is more than a story. It is a journey with Reanie as she finds her voice and her artistic talent. The back of the book includes 4 nonfiction pages about photography: a glossary of terms, tips on taking better pictures and historical tidbits about photography.


J. Aday: What plans do you have for promoting “A Talent for Quiet”?

Kim: For my first book, I created a detailed marketing plan that included venues for promoting, plans for events and local media that I wanted to contact. You can read about my marketing plan in Susan Stephenson's Muselings column in the Muse Marquee at

That marketing plan took me over a month to prepare. Much of that time was spent just learning what a marketing plan is. With my second picture book I already have the ground work laid out and many local contacts, but I will still follow the same plan. Here are some highlights:

  1. Local reading at schools and libraries.
  2. Media releases to local papers (highlighting the local features of this book) and to national media.
  3. Reviews at selected review sites
  4. Book trailer and website updates
  5. Photo contest for kids (to go with the photo theme of the book)
  6. Contests (even ones that you don't win bring exposure)
  7. Targeting niche stores (in this case photography stores)
  8. Google alerts

J. Aday: What has been and has not been successful promoting your books in the past? Explain the results?

Kim: I've had several people contact me after watching my trailer and wanting to stock the book in their specialty store, so I think the trailer has been successful. Also, I mentioned Google Alerts above. I get alerts for all my books titles, pen names and topics that relate to my books. When I see a blog about them, I post comments and this brings traffic to my site.

Unsuccessful promotions for me have been my own blogs (I'm not consistent enough with blogging to create traffic) and bookstore events. The few events I've done at large chain stores were fun, but I don't think they did much to promote me or my books. I did some readings and kids's parties, but mostly the parents were there for the freebies, The events have been so hectic that I wasn't able to connect with the parent. I've been much more successful at craft fairs and art shows, selling many more books and making valuable contacts.

J. Aday: How will you differ promoting a children’s picture book like “A Talent for Quiet” and a book for adults?

Kim: The main difference is the readings. For picture books, I visit schools and read the entire book to the kids. We often play a game or do a craft project in conjunction with the books. Also, both of my children's books, while fiction, have nonfiction pages at the end. So I've been able to target niche stores. My adult books are fantasy and so I've been more traditional in my marketing approach.

Also, for adult books, I spend more time in chat groups and posting excerpts on sites like Manic Readers and Novel Spotters.

J. Aday: How do you select people to review your books? How many reviews will you seek? (estimate)

Kim: I try to pick sites that seem to have honest reviews. Readers are smart and they can pick up on review sites that aren't honest. I also try to pick some reviewers that will have exposure to different markets, such as homeschool parents or grandparent groups. I will probably send out about 20 books for review by the time I'm done.

J. Aday: What types of venues do you target? (online, blogs, magazines, newspapers, etc…) What would be like a dream come true to receive a raving review from for your children’s book “A Talent for Quiet” and why?

Kim: I target mostly online venues simply because many magazines won't review books that don't have national bookstore placement. Meaning, it has to be on the shelves in major chains all across the US, for them to review it.

I once received a review for Rainbow Sheep, saying the book was a homeschool parent's dream, because it was both fiction and nonfiction and gave parents a unique craft to do with their kids. This was exactly what I wanted from this book. I try to give parents more for their money. I want to create books that both parents and kid will return to again and again. I also love to hear that my books are being used in art classes or school programs. That makes me feel like I've created something to inspire children.

J. Aday: How do you approach a local or distant book store to stock your books?

Kim: For local stores, whether it's a bookstore or a specialty store, I bring them a press kit with a poster that includes reviews, an intro letter with ordering information, a list of the different kinds of readings I can do and other promo materials like bookmarks.

For long distance bookstores, I send a postcard with book information and then follow up with a phone call.

Blazing Trailers

J. Aday: Where does an author post a book trailer other than YouTube and their website?

Kim: Most of the social networking sites can accept video as well as the many writer/reader forums that are popping up (such as Writers and Readers of Distinctive Fiction). You can also post your trailer on Amazon as a review on your book page, but read Amazon's guidelines carefully. I always make a second trailer without url's to conform to the guidelines. TubeMogul is a new service that posts your videos to several sites at once. There are also some new sites (like my Blazing Trailers) that showcase just book trailers.

I mentioned that I don't keep a very current blog of my own, but I am often invited to post on other people's blogs. This is a good way to reach new viewers and I can often post my trailers there.

Finally, there are several less well known video sites. A simple google search will bring up a huge list. Here are some of my favorites: (kids books only),, and

J. Aday: Why should someone choose Blazing Trailers to showcase their book trailers?

Kim: YouTube and other such media sites are a great place to get strangers to find you. Post your trailer there and you have a huge possible audience. However, if you have a newsletter or are chatting on a forum, and you want to invite someone to view your trailer, Blazing Trailers offers much more for your viewer. Each trailer page has a blurb, excerpt, review publishing info and links to author and publisher website. And most important, after viewing your trailer, the viewer has the opportunity to buy the book immediately. This is important. On a video site there is no immediate click through to a buy page and those all important impulse purchase could be lost.

Besides, Blazing Trailers is free for authors and it's serious fun. There are little quirks hiding on every page and more in the works. We think that books should be fun and we're trying to keep to this theme.

I should mention that the site is still under construction. The 'Sumbit a Trailer' page is not yet live, so anyone who wants to post a trailer should email me at

J. Aday: What else can you tell us about book promotion?

Kim: Book promotion takes a lot of time. It is exhausting, sometimes exhilarating, other times depressing. I think authors shouldn't get so caught up in promotion that they put aside new writing. Your best marketing tool is your next book. The more books you have out there, the more name recognition you'll have.

Also, name branding is as important as sales, especially for new authors. It's easy to fall into the trap of judging a promotion by how many books you sell. Sales are not always a good meter. For instance, I often read at libraries and don't sell any books. But all the parents at those readings will remember me. Online promotions can work the same way. Get your name out there. Comment on other people's blogs, enter free contests, post articles. Each time your name appears, the might search engines will remember.

Free site for authors to showcase book trailers and readers to browse for books.

Friday, February 20, 2009

You've Got to do More than Shut Up

Top 5 Mistakes Authors make DURING the Interview
You've written the book, perfected your pitch, scored the interview and now it's your time in the spotlight. As a producer my top 5 "Don't Screw It Up" suggestions for the actual interview are:

- Not being prepared. Know your topic, your host, your purpose. Be so ready that nothing can throw you. Your answers should just flow and be conversational. Pretend you're sharing a cup of tea or a glass of wine with your host and just enjoy. If you're having fun so will everyone else!

- Fidgeting, chewing gum, cracking your knuckles and other annoying stuff. Sit still: breathe. Relax and enjoy your moment. You're the expert - the star. Enjoy!

- Never assume anything. The interviewer may not have read your book, know your topic or have even looked at the materials you sent. Be prepared to answer basic questions, explain why your book benefits viewers, direct the interview back on focus if needed and be polite no matter what.

- Yes or no answers are never a good idea. Always elaborate. You don't want to be a Chatty Cathy but yes or no answers can be the kiss of death in an interview. This is the time to make use of those well thought out and practiced sound bites.

- Don't direct people to a page or chapter in your book instead of answering a question outright - EVER!

So remember: be prepared, answer questions completely, don't just "Sell" your book. As a guest you need to be engaging, likeable, entertaining and informative, and of course you need to - Sit Still!

For more information or to schedule a coaching session just email me at or call (602) 509-6468.

~Tip offered by Media Veteran Laura Holka, who is the producer of the Pat McMahon Show & a Media Consultant. She can be reached at or email

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Promoting Noah - Not the Guy with the Ark

Shari Lyle-Soffe


Nothing Stops Noah

by Shari Lyle-Soffe

ISBN: 978-1-935137-19-1

Copyright: 2008 Shari Lyle-Soffe

Illustrator Kevin Scott Collier

Price: $10.95

Format: picture book

Noah wants to buy a gift for his mother, but he doesn’t have any money.Noah’s problem is solved when he takes a job at the pet store, or are the problems just beginning? When Noah is left in charge, all of the animals escape and Noah must find a way to get them back in their cages before the owner returns to the store. This book is published by Guardian Angel Publishing.

J. Aday: Can you tell us about the types of book promotion tools you utilized?

Sharon: I have blogs, book trailers, and lots of social networking sites. I must admit I am still just learning the ropes. I’m not savvy enough for a website and money is always an issue around here. I have to pinch my marketing pennies. I have come to realize it is helpful to brand your name so I have it is about children’s books, and includes author interviews. I also have for my series and for my picture book. I will be establishing another blog page for "A Horse Of Course'' when it comes out.

J. Aday: What was and was not successful? Explain the results?

Sharon: I struck out at schools. I guess I didn’t have enough to offer in the way of a program. I sent out a lot of press releases, etc. to schools with no response. I have had to rethink the money I spend and how I spend my time.

Book signings have worked pretty well for me. You have to get their attention and then be friendly and outgoing. If you have a prize drawing they have to give you their name and address. That means you have a little time to talk to them and possibly make a sale. If you want you can use their information for your mailing list.

Maybe the greatest benefit has been organizations I belong to or did at one time. I have made sales to church members, and members of the local chapter of AARP where I was a member, and also volunteers at the food pantry where I worked. My daughter has school age children and plugs my books among her friends.

J. Aday: How did you target reviewers? Approximately how many did/do you get? Did you mail hard copies or ebooks?

Sharon: Word of mouth and mention on other sites were key in my choices. I sent whatever they required. I got a few. Time and postage were a factor. If the reviewer will accept a .pdf version it is easier on the pocketbook, but if print copies are donated somewhere that is bonus advertising.

J. Aday: Did you use any books or online tools to plan your book marketing?

Sharon: I joined a number of book and social networking sites, but I don’t know how to measure the results. The time to learn how the sites work is always a problem for me. I love Twitter and I am just catching on to pinging.

A number of marketing newsletters offered good tips. I keep my eyes and ears open for articles and newsletters on the subject. Some are better than others. I join and if I don’t feel they offer enough I unsubscribe. One of my favorites is Carolyn Howard Johnson’s. "To subscribe to 'Sharing with Writers' send an e-mail to with 'Subscribe' in the subject line."

J. Aday: How do you attract media attention?

Sharon: I used the phone. I called the radio and newspaper and told them about upcoming events. Hang on to those contacts you will need them again. Be sure to thank them for whatever they do for you. If they want to interview you be prepared, but remember no one knows more about the topic than you do.

J. Aday: When doing promotional media pieces, how do you prepare?

Sharon: I look at examples of what others have done and try to learn from that. If you mean interviews and such, I make sure I have pertinent information with me or memorized if possible. And I practiced talking by reading out loud. Don’t laugh, I did.

J. Aday: With the rising cost of postage, I’m curious, how much should someone budget? What did it run you?

Sharon: I really can’t answer that. I think you should budget what is reasonable for you.

J. Aday: How long should an author promote a book?

Sharon: I would think, as long as it is available, you would promote it to some extent. You can still promote it when the next book comes out, etc.

J. Aday: Have you ever chosen to stop promoting a book and relaunch it? If yes, what strategy did you use?

Sharon: No.

J. Aday: How did you find and approach radio programs, newspapers, television and other media?

Sharon: I didn’t approach any television media. I called the radio and newspapers and explained who I was and why I was calling. They connected me to the person who could help me. I again explained everything and asked if they could help me get the information out there. If there was any question …I explained that I could not afford to advertise. If they offered to help I asked “What do you need from me?”

J. Aday: Is there anything you can share with us to simplify this daunting task?

Sharon: Make your plans and some connections before the book is published. Once the book comes out you are already playing catch up. Try to be organized, something I am not. Start thinking about businesses that have a connection to your book they may be willing to carry it. Look for tie-ins.

Rooter & Snuffle Series


J. Aday: Thanks for your time today. I learn new things from every interview. I wonder if this means I'm getting smarter. if I am, I wonder how many interviews will make me a genius. When I reach that point, I'm taking a vacation. I think I'll be interviewing a lot more people first..

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tickling Your Muse

A writer is always looking for inspiration. The news, magazines, internet stories, a blog, an advertisement, a conversation you overhear, the theme lists on submission guidelines, everywhere, and anything could spark your muse.

Morning Program
I was watching Good Morning America. They were interviewing a man that robbed his robbers. Are you confused? I was.

He was working in his basement. Some people were packing up his belongings. While they were busy putting items they wanted to steal at his front door, he sneaked out the back. When he walked around the house, he spotted the robber's van idling in his driveway.

What would you do? He stole his robber's van and called 911. After the operator quit laughing, she advised him to stop and get out of the van. He was in danger of breaking the law himself.
Local News
In the local news a few weeks ago, there was another chuckle-worthy story. Two convicts had just been sentenced at a courthouse. Somehow the two men, who were handcuffed together, made a run for freedom. They might have made it, if not for one mistake. They ran on opposite sides of a lamp post, their handcuffs caused them to fall, and they were easily captured.

I hope you can find an idea for a story in these news blips I shared. Keep your eyes open. There's no telling what might tickle your muse.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nothing Stops Noah Review

Shari Lyle-Soffe


Nothing Stops Noah

ISBN: 978-1-935137-19-1

Copyright: 2008 Shari Lyle-Soffe

Illustrator Kevin Scott Collier

Price: $10.95

Format: picture book

Book Blurb: Noah’s never give up attitude saves the day.

Noah wants to buy a gift for his mother, but he doesn’t have any money.Noah’s problem is solved when he takes a job at the pet store, or are the problems just beginning? When Noah is left in charge, all of the animals escape and Noah must find a way to get them back in their cages before the owner returns to the store. This book is illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier and published by Guardian Angel Publishing.

"Nothing Stops Noah"

“Nothing Stops Noah” is an entertaining romp. Noah’s creative problem solving serves as an example to children. Don’t panic, evaluate your situation and execute your plan calmly and confidently. Noah could have thrown his arms up, panicked and made his situation worse. Instead, he finds a way to use what is available and try to solve his problems on his own.

As the children turn the pages, they will devour the illustrations, by Kevin S. Collier, that will feed their imaginations. The creative, vivid and wacky pictures of Noah amidst the chaos in the pet shop are delightful and amusing.

The story is told in simple prose perfect for younger children to stretch their reading skills or shared with a child curled up on a lap. The delight on a child’s face will be evident each time the book is read. The book is destined to be a favorite.