Q&A With Author April Kirkwood
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.
Have you ever performed a marketing “faux pas”? How did you learn from your mistake?
I could be considered the poster child for marketing “faux pas.” Yes, it was me you might have caught on Inside Edition long before my book Big Girls Do Cry was available. Somehow, someone had heard of my affair with musician Frankie Valli and inaccurately stated my book was available in the run up to the release of the film Jersey Boys. Before long, I was being flown to New York to be a guest on Inside Edition without a book in hand. It was a disaster! I didn’t come out of my bedroom for three days after that aired. Since then, I’ve been working backwards from a marketing standpoint trying to create authentic launch dates and appropriate information.
In your opinion, what is the best way to react to a negative review?
When I receive a negative review, I first consider the source and react in a respectful way. Often that means writing a response. At other times, it is in my best interest to let it roll off my back and keep swimming. Second, I walk away for a day or so. Third, when I return with a cup of green tea and my teacup yorkie sitting on my toes reminding me what love is, I decide if and what I will write. Lastly, I inhale and exhale three times and begin to write professionally, warmly, and openly, and read it once more before I hit “Send.”
As a self-published author, what is the most difficult aspect to marketing your book?
This is my first book and I have to tell you, I’m a bit lost when it comes to marketing and working with groups of staff. I’ve really bumped my head a few times and my wallet is still in the red. I am a teacher, social worker, and counsellor, but not educated in and have no experience with marketing. I do, nonetheless, remember my freshman college economics class and I can attest to one very poignant lesson: Let the buyer beware.
Being on television or the radio to talk about your work can be nerve-racking. Can you share one of these experiences with us? How did you overcome your fear?
After I saw what they did to my first national television interview on Inside Edition, I learned some very painful lessons:
1. Watch what you sign and read the fine print. The interview will be the property of the media outlet and they can use it how they see fit.
2. Do your own hair and makeup.
3. If possible, bring your publicist to speak for you and ask to see the interview before it goes live.
4. Never give them permission to record you sitting across from the host nodding yes and no to her pretend questions for further editing. Editing is the ruination of many good intentions.
Do you have a professionally designed author logo or branding? If so, tell us why you feel these elements are important to your overall marketing efforts.
Yes, I have an author logo. I believe that branding is vital to you as a human being, not just an author. After all, you are much more than one single label. You are a being full of vibrations with gorgeous lights and colours. You are here to do a job no one else can do. You are truly one of a kind. As you begin to brand yourself look into the mirror and ponder: Who am I? What is my message to the universe? How do I best convey those elements of my eternal self to embrace both myself and others? I suppose one’s brand might change as we keep evolving. Like you, it’s very personal.
April Kirkwood is a graduate of Youngstown State University with two masters in education—in school and community counseling. April worked for more than twenty-five years in public education and in the mental health field as a social worker, teacher, guidance counsellor, and mentor for new teachers. April is presently working on her second book, a workbook for those who also are stuck with recurring unsatisfactory intimate relationships.
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Have you ever performed a marketing “faux pas”?