INTERVIEWS: Written and Audio

OPTIMIZE YOUR AUTHOR INTERVIEWS!

Written or audio, interviews are a wonderful opportunity authors to communicate with their readers, listeners, and the general public

WRITTEN INTERVIEWS
We are fortunate when asked to give an interview without any effort on our part. Like several of my promotional opportunities, my first interview as an author was arranged by my publisher, Geoff Habiger of Artemesia Publishing. It was with Lorna Holland, The Writing Greyhound, a books and lifestyle blogger in Northamptonshire, England. Interview: Jeanne Burrows-Johnson,” was a chronological look at my background and the beginning of the award-winning Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries. Like most interviewers, Lorna was interested in the process of my writing, the progression of my authorship, and the publishing process, as well as the essence of Prospect for Murder. You can read her current work at The Writing Greyhound.

Recently, I was delighted to have a written interview released the day before my 71st birthday. It was based on questions posed by Naomi Bolton of ManyBooks.net. This interview focused on Murders of Conveyance. Publication was scheduled to coincide with the special $.99 pricing on the eBook edition (valid until February 22, 2021), on several internet book retailers. “Jeanne Burrows-Johnson – Visions, False clues, Murder and Hints of a Priceless Treasure” is based on my responses to questions posed by Naomi Bolton, who was especially interested in the convergence of two murders separated by sixty years, a Honolulu scavenger hunt during Chinese New Year, and a hidden jade artifact.

The interview also explored my writing methodology, expansion of the series with Yen for Murder (the fourth completed book), and my current volume, A Spineless Murder. I was especially pleased to be able to discuss Conversations with Auntie Carol, Seven Oral History Interviews with Caroline Kuliaikanu`ukapu “Wilcox DeLima Farias—a project nearing completion after twenty-five years.

AUDIO INTERVIEWS
When I was a young adult working in the performing arts, I sometimes recorded promotional pieces for plays and other events. Today, audio books, podcasts, and even drive-time radio programming, have heightened the popularity of audio interviews in numerous forms. As an author, I began giving talks and audio interviews with the publication of Prospect for Murder in 2016. My initial author audio interview was hosted by Rob Wesson on “The Professionals’ Round Table,” (with the Empire Broadcasting Group). This program highlighted myriad business professionals and I was glad to discuss the essence of my work as a branding and marketing consultant and the transition to being an author of fiction. Click below to hear this interview…

Twice I have been invited to discuss my authorship with Traci Halesvass who hosts “Write on Four Corners” on KSJE. As a retired New Mexico college English instructor, she takes particular interest highlighting the works of authors in the Southwest. Her congenial pace and curiosity about her guests welcomed me to an in-depth conversation about my developing career in mystery fiction from Prospect to Murder to Murders of Conveyance

March 6, 2019:
https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-4efvz-a9b920

October 23, 2019:
https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-dwzci-c12784

ADVERTISING VIA INTERVIEWS
Sometimes it is expedient to pay to be interviewed on commercial programming. Such was the case in 2020, when I was preparing for the Tucson Festival of Books. At that time, I scheduled an interview on “Networking Arizona” (KFNX, Phoenix) hosted by Carol Blonder. I was especially pleased that a replay of the segment was scheduled for the middle of the Festival. Unfortunately, the Festival was cancelled, and I later learned that the program had not boosted sales of any of my books. If the Festival had occurred, it might have been a stimulus to potential attendees.

At this time, we are all anticipating that there will be a turn-around in the health of peoples around the world…and a greatly needed uptick in the economy. This will mean a widening of opportunities for in-person activity. Within a year, authors should be able to schedule public book signings and discussions of their work. That will make interviews beneficial, regardless of whether they are by invitation or paid advertisement. Also, it is important to remember that the benefits of advertising and other marketing are accumulative…you can never really know how an event impacts the reader, listener, or viewer over time. It used to be said that a potential customer had to have about six interactions before they would conclude a transaction. You now have to multiply that number at least twice!

Wishing you the best in your creative endeavors,
Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, author, consultant, and motivational speaker

To learn more about the award-winning Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries, including Murders of Conveyance [Winner, Fiction Adventure-Drama, 2019 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards] and other projects, please drop in at my author’s website JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com. You’ll even find Island Recipes that might inspire your culinary creativity.

For more ideas to strengthen your Wordpower© and branding, please visit: Imaginings Wordpower and Design Consultation.

Follow Me:
Amazon, Arizona Authors Association, Apple Books
Audible, Authors Den, Barnes and Noble, Blogarama, Book Bub
Cozy Mysteries-Unlimited, Facebook, Good Reads, Hometown Reads

Book sellers may contact book distributors such as:
Baker & Taylor, Follett, IPG, Ingram, Mackin, Midpoint, TitleWave

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BOOK SERIES ADVENTURES

ENJOYING YOUR ADVENTURES IN PUBLISHING…

This blog first appeared on https://HometownReads.com,  which I highly recommend to both readers and authors seeking to learn more about the art and business of publishing books! You can click on https://HometownAuthors.com to view a variety of articles from member authors…

As an author, you may have experienced both lows and highs if you have managed to publish a book series!  It’s a true accomplishment, regardless of whether you planned it or not.  But while you were promised great things would emerge at this point in your writing career, you are facing more than a few challenges.  Allow me to tell you about issues I’ve confronted during the publications of Murder on Mokulua Drive, the second Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian mystery

ELEMENTAL CONSISTENCY
Beyond avoiding copyright violation in the chapter-opening quotes I use, I guard against repetition.  During pre-publication review of Murder on Mokulua Drive, I discovered I’d reused a quote from Prospect for Murder My records of aphorisms now indicate when and where a quote is used. Also, I discovered that I changed the color of  a primary character’s truck. I have since created an expanding document listing aspects of the series as well as individual characters, their work, their home, and even their pets.

CHARACTER AND LOCAL PARITY
Initially, I had a male protagonist.  Whoops…my writers’ salon found that “voice” more appropriate to a woman.

Names, their spellings, descriptions, and pronunciation must all be checked.  Imagine my chagrin in realizing I’d changed a name’s pronunciation mid-way through PFM’s audio edition!

While my protagonist thinks in whole words, she speaks with contractions.  I now begin each book by reviewing my chart of persons, places, and their characteristics. 

PLURALITY 
Promotional text highlighting aspects of a single book must encompass each title in a series.  Having multiple titles often means having different editionsFor PFM, I had hardcover, softcover, Ebook, and physical and digital audio editions. MOMD is currently available in only hardcover and Ebook. I have to remember to omit audio references (like “Audible.com”) when describing the second book.    

PRESENTING YOURSELF
If you have a publisher or literary agent, they may have guidelines for presenting yourself personally, online, and in traditional and social media. If you’ve never been in the public eye, you may be grateful for their suggestions about wardrobe, hair, accessories, and makeup [yes, men sometimes require makeup].

Beyond any grooming and/or behavioral adjustments you may need to make for public appearances, you will probably need to vary your public stance depending on the venue or type of media. I’m not suggesting that you become a shape-shifting chameleon, but envisioning each audience will help you view yourself as they will. For instance, wearing a suit may be ideal for some locales and audiences, but something less formal may be best for others.

MARKETING YOURSELF
Regardless of who directs your marketing, examine media kit samples to see what you should prepare.  This will include bios, photos, sample media releases, and relatable stories, covering:
~  Background [family, education, career]
~  Daily Life [home, work, writing locale, pets, hobbies]
~  Writing Methodology [research, writing, editing]
~  Influential People [affecting your work and life]
~  Author Experiences
~  Changes in Your Writing

ELASTIC PROMOTIONAL TEXT
Were you initially described as a debut author? That’s no longer relevant.  What other life changes will impact your self-description.  Are you in a new professional position?  Where do you live, or travel for research, sales, and presentations?  Periodically (and in varying length), you’ll need to restructure text for:
~  Media releases about books, awards, appearances
~  Bios for ads, event programs, introductions
~  Submission of your work for reviews and contests
~  Website discussions of your life and authorship
~  Social media posts, comments, and event announcements

WELCOMING IMAGES
Gather images to stimulate the interest of colleagues, readers, listeners, and the general public including:
~  You and your normal surroundings
~  Events in which you have participated
~  Images attracting your interest
~  Organizational and community events in which you have been involved
~  Images relevant to characters, scenery, and activity in your writing

DESIGNING AND REDESIGING INVITING WEBSITES AND BLOGS
I must confess that this is a recurring theme in this blog, because the process is never complete. Working alone or with a web master, there are many aspects to consider on a regular basis.  First, consider that you may have a website dating from before you became an author. Some of its elements may be recyclable…if you feel the appearance of the original site is compatible with your current work.  With bios, book synopses, and pertinent images being available, much of the material you need as an author should be ready to upload.  You just need to weave it all together to appropriately reveal aspects of yourself and your work Consider:

~  Styles appealing to your target market [realism, art deco, country kitch…]
~  Colors [you like and wear; those describing your work]
~  Shapes reflecting your style and work [linear or curved]
~  Textures, natural or man-made [wood, silk, metal, stone, plastic]

Final thoughts?  Well, there’s nothing final about the process of writing…or of marketing your work.  As with your compositions, keeping electronic and hardcopy samples of your promotional material, will help you shape attractive representations of your unfolding life’s work! 

Wishing you the best in your creative endeavors,
Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, author, consultant, and motivational speaker

Tips to enhancing your writing may be found in:
Empowering Your Words, February 2015
Creating Fictional Characters, March 2015
Sidestepping Writer’s Block, April 2015
Communicating with Every Sense, May 2015
Energizing Narrative Passages, September 2015
The Author Recycles, July 2017
Balancing Text & Space, February 2017
Book Series Adventures, April 2018
Drawing on Sense Memories, July 2018

To learn more about the award-winning Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries, including Murders of Conveyance [Winner, Fiction Adventure-Drama, 2019 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards] and other projects, please drop in at my author’s website JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com. You’ll even find Island Recipes that might inspire your culinary creativity.

For more ideas to strengthen your Wordpower© and branding, please visit: Imaginings Wordpower and Design Consultation.

Follow Me:
Amazon, Arizona Authors Association, Apple Books
Audible, Authors Den, Barnes and Noble, Blogarama, Book Bub
Cozy Mysteries-Unlimited, Facebook, Good Reads, Hometown Reads

Book sellers may contact book distributors such as:
Baker & Taylor, Follett, IPG, Ingram, Mackin, Midpoint, TitleWave

BOOK PROMOTION AND EVOLVING ART


THE NEVER ENDING ART & SCIENCE OF WRITING

As I examine the months since the launch of Prospect For Murder [the first book in the Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian mystery series], I realize I have not posted a blog regarding the never-ending art and science of writing for a long time.  I’ve started several, but details of the publishing and promotional processes have interfered with my sharing new author strategiesSince addressing the topic of my artistic vision for the book layout for Prospect For Murder in a previous blog, it has been released in hardcover, downloadable audio and ebook formats, and a 9-CD as well as downloadable audio book. Preparing for the promotion of each version has required re-examination of artwork and descriptive text, as each format varies in size and may appeal to a different target market. successful advertising and branding

EVOLVING BOOK SERIES
Authors may separate their work into categories of writing, publishing, and marketing, but each of these activities should unite under a shared roof of unified branding.  And while today’s book marketplace includes many self-publishing authors choosing to offer downloadable rather than printed books, such works must still be accompanied by attractive art and typography to maximize their appeal to the sensory experience of potential readers.

There are many ways to make the appearance of a book pop within the massive listings of any genre.  As mentioned in my discussion of art for PFM, I have chosen to use an Island-themed gold frame based on Hawaiian heirloom gold jewelry to distinguish my book and the promotional materials with which I market it.  

HARDCOVER BOOKS
Book jacket art
for the hardcover edition of PFM was the first design project I undertook.  After the evocative gold frame was completed, I realized it could be utilized for the entire mystery series.  And, with changes in the metallic color, it will be ideal for other book projects as well. Below is the first version of the book jacket, which was clearly too dark!

Prospect for Murder...in written and audio editions...the first Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mystery

ORIGINAL 9-CD AUDIO BOOK ALBUMS
After I completed recording the 9-CD audio book, it was time to modify the book jacket art.  For the CD albums, my job was to shorten text describing the book and me, as well as the snippets of reviews.  My artist and typographer Yasamine June [you can view samples of her work at www.yasaminejune.com] then adjusted the size and proportion of her original artwork and dropped in my edits.

EBOOK AND AUDIO EDITIONS
The next task was designing website icons for sites offering the downloadable audio and eBook editions.  Our goal was to enhance a visitor’s recognition of the products being offered.  Therefore we created a conjoined image of the hardcover book jacket and a square edit resembling a CD case.  Wherever possible, this paired image is used to signify that Prospect For Murder is available in multiple formats.

I should mention that during this process, I realized that the original art image was too dark. Consequently, I had Yasamine brighten the cover, especially the dragon fountain. Subsequent to these changes, I was thrilled when Prospect for Murder won cover art design in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in 2017.

DESIGNING PROMO MARTERIALS & YOUR WEBSITE

The art of communication is one of the most vital skills a professional in any field can develop to help them in achieving goals and objectives in both their public and private living.  The following tools can be refined to maximize messages to colleagues, friends and the general public.

ARTWORK
I use the iconic paired image of the print and audio editions of PFM as artwork for both printed promotional materials and my author website.  Without intention, the colors for Prospect For Murder and Imaginings Wordpower were nearly the same, which has greatly simplified my choice in color palette. I am still contemplating where and how I will utilize the gold frame.

TITLING
I have used the Peignot font for my promotional business, Imaginings Wordpower [www.ImaginingsWordpower.com] for many years.  Therefore, I chose to use it for the titling of book jackets, my author website, and all promotional materials for the Natalie Seachrist series.  This decision is especially appropriate since many of the historical details used in the series predate World War II.  The Peignot font is an art déco [or style moderne dating from the 1920s], sans-serif display typeface designed by A. M. Cassandre in 1937 for the Deberny & Peignot Foundry in France.  While this font is too stylized for lengthy text, it makes a viable statement for titling and headings.

BUSINESS CARDS
Unexpectedly, I discovered that the standard size of a business card and the dark haunting color of the hardcover and audio book art was not suitable to my new double-sided author business card.  To resolve these problems, I created a new image.  I did this by overlapping the frame of the hardcover edition with that of the downloadable audio edition.   In the lower right-hand corner, I inserted the gold hibiscus found in the corners of the frames.  This has proven effective, since the image is always accompanied by text providing my name and the title of the book.

STATIONERY & FORMS
With use of the paired image of the print and audio books, plus the Peignot font, there were few decisions to make in creating my author letterhead stationery.  For most purposes, I place the iconic art image in the top left hand corner of the page and all contact information centered at the bottom.  This layout works for both letters and business forms [such as invoices]. 

LOGO NOTECARDS
For many years I’ve used what I call logo notecards to extend invitations, express gratitude, and confirm appointments.  For both portrait and landscape layouts, I place a logo in one quadrant of an 8.5 x 11 inch layout, with text positioned diagonally and upside down from the artwork.  The printed result is a sheet of paper that can be folded into a 5.5 x 4.5 notecard that will fit an invitation-sized envelope. 

POSTCARDS
After discovering that postage was the same for a couple of sizes of postcards, I chose a dimension of 8.5 x 5 inches for my author’s promotional postcard.  Beyond displaying recognizable book cover art, this ensures sufficient space for a synopsis and book reviews, plus purchasing options.  The art and descriptive text pop against a simple white background, with a high gloss finish on the front side for durability and flat finish on the back, which facilitates use of a pen for personal messages. 

Sadly, I discovered a typo after receiving an initial order of the postcards.  And having continued to receive positive reviews, I realized I should have printed a small number of the cards initially, to allow for subsequent corrections and additions.  As my publisher has declined to reprint book jackets with the latest reviews, I’m glad my second run of postcards allows me to send out books as samples, or for review or sale with up-to-date information.

OTHER PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

COMMUNICATING THROUGH EMAILS
Every piece of communication you generate is a marketing opportunity.  And while you may not use an outgoing email layout paralleling your letterhead stationery, you can strategically position artwork, logos, and other information to draw the recipient’s eye.  I put the paired book image and purchasing information in the top left-hand corner of each outgoing email.  For the signature section for all outgoing emails, I have added a link to my author website [JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com],   my Imaginings Wordpower website [ImaginingsWordpower.com], and this blog [Blog.JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com].

WEBSITES DISPLAYING NEWLY RELEASED BOOKS
As the release date for PFM neared, the number of websites featuring the book increased.  Unfortunately, some had received galleys displaying artwork devised as a placeholder for the book jacket art that was to come.  Without proper notification, these sites would continue to display the galley image as being representative of the published book.  Therefore, I suggest that authors releasing books through publishers or on their own, remain vigilant in cruising the Internet to ensure that the words and images describing them, as well as their work appear as they intend!

In addition, authors need to be aware that many popular websites selling and promoting books do NOT offer an easy means for having books reviewed or even displayed in categorical listings.  Most of the time, an author’s work is only visible if the visitor to a site knows the author’s name or book title.  I strive to see Prospect For Murder displayed under the following categories for each of its several editions:  Hawai`i; Hawaiian mysteries; cozy mysteries; cat mysteries; female authors; female detectives; female sleuths. If you have any tips to help me with this situation, please drop me a note through the contact form on one of my websites…

Wishing you the best in your creative endeavors,
Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, author, consultant, and motivational speaker

Further discussion of art is available at the following blogs:
Authors Design Dilemmas 1, April 2015
Confronted by a Fantasia of Fonts, May 2015
Rainbows of Color, May 2015
Winning Logos & Slogans, October 2015
Quality Book Production, February 2016
Harmonizing Branding Elements, August 2016
Book Promotion and Evolving Art, January 2017
Balancing Text and Space, February 2018
Successful Cover Art, December 2018

To learn more about the award-winning Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mysteries, including Murders of Conveyance [Winner, Fiction Adventure-Drama, 2019 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards] and other projects, please drop in at my author’s website JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com. You’ll even find Island Recipes that might inspire your culinary creativity.

For more ideas to strengthen your Wordpower© and branding, please visit: Imaginings Wordpower and Design Consultation.

Follow Me:
Amazon, Arizona Authors Association, Apple Books
Audible, Authors Den, Barnes and Noble, Blogarama, Book Bub
Cozy Mysteries-Unlimited, Facebook, Good Reads, Hometown Reads

Book sellers may contact book distributors such as:
Baker & Taylor, Follett, IPG, Ingram, Mackin, Midpoint, TitleWave