Marketing Q&A with Ron Lawruk

Looking to improve your marketing and publicity efforts? Check out our Book Publicity Tips series where we ask real authors to share their experiences, thoughts, and advice to assist both new and established authors. 

When do you start planning an upcoming release’s marketing?

Actually, I research the material for the topic I have chosen. Sometimes it changes as the story unfolds. By the time I finish the second to last chapters of a book, I have a good idea of the marketing required. I usually make notes along the way to ensure that the content applies to the type of market I need to target. Depending on the subject matter, I would research the organizations that provide the best service.

Briefly describe a marketing “faux pas” you have made. How did you learn from your mistake?

When I began to write, I knew little or nothing about publishing companies, book agents, and the like. I knew the possibility of getting published was virtually impossible, but I persevered and completed two novels. The first was a fictional spy story. I drafted letters and manuscripts to forty Canadian and U.S publishing companies. Their responses: “We are not accepting any queries for publication and are unable to read your submissions.” Then I tried two book agents, in New York and Los Angeles. After three years, no progress was made, so I cancelled both of them. Lesson learned: I went the self-publication route.

If you are a self-published author, what is the #1 tip you could give to a writer looking to go the self-publishing route?

The #1 tip I would give to an aspiring author would be to read every periodical and get as much information as possible about the pros and cons available before going that route. The prospect of getting published is low unless you have something dynamic and a publisher sees it. You have to accept the fact that the costs are high and sales are sporadic. The odds are stacked against you unless you are a popular personality in the entertainment or sports world. You can only hope that you break even.

From past experiences, do you have any major tips for holding a book signing or book launch event?

First of all, you have to establish a rapport with an organization like a bookstore – or an outside event like a Country store – to have a successful Book Signing/Launch. If you had your book published by a bookstore chain, events are usually arranged by the publishing company. Self-publishers must be prepared to contact the stores and hopefully arrange a date. Stores usually retain 30 to 45%. Street bazaars and fairs are also useful; some require that you provide your own equipment.

How often should an author post to Twitter? Which strategies do you find increase engagement?

Twitter offers numerous opportunities for users and authors. Depending on the type of information exchanged, users can post hourly, daily, and periodically. I try to engage on a regular basis once or twice a day and invite users to add me to their Twitter/Facebook lists. As an author, I try to keep in touch with other authors to see what new programs or developments are available. Eventually, I am able to establish relationships with a strong core of authors with similar goals and we learn from our successes and mistakes.

Author Bio

Ron is 82 years old, married, with 5 children. He graduated from St. Patrick’s College in Ottawa, Canada, in 1952. Ron was employed by the National Defence Department in 1958 and worked as an Intelligence Officer for 32 years. He also spent 3 years at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and provided intelligence support to the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C. In 1986, Ron completed his first full length fiction novel, A Spy Too Close, and turned it into a trilogy. In 2011, he co-published with his wife Merla a biography titled For Love and Country, A Canadian Soldier’s Story. His latest book, published in 2015, is titled Out of the Shadows, the Life of a CSE Canadian Intelligence Officer.

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