Q&A With Author Elizabeth Ducie
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Have you ever performed a marketing “faux pas”? How did you learn from your mistake?
I always bring out my books to co-incide with a special event or date, often in the run-up to Christmas. My anthologies are a quick, easy read, so launching in November works well. But when I published my debut novel, Gorgito’s Ice Rink, I forgot it would take longer to read. A few people read it straight away and then came back for extra copies to give as Christmas presents. But for most people, there wasn’t enough time to do that within the gift-buying period. Next time, I would probably launch in September, for a longer, more effective run-up campaign.
As a self-published author, what is the most difficult aspect to marketing your book?
Remembering to keep going and always be on the look-out for marketing opportunities—without going over the top; I suspect there’s nothing more off-putting to a potential reader than a continual “buy my book, buy my book.” It’s very difficult to keep the momentum going once the initial publicity has died down. It takes up a lot of time—time that could be more usefully spent writing. It’s important to have a full marketing plan and to keep at it—it’s a long-term activity. I’ve learned to celebrate my sales one book at a time.
Have you ever held a book signing or launch event? How important are these in your overall marketing plan?
Launch parties are critical to my marketing plan. I have an online launch party on Facebook when an ebook comes out. The last one lasted for twelve hours and was great fun, if a little tiring. They feature virtual champagne and cake, music, and games. I’ve been doing that since 2012 and at the time, everyone thought it was an innovative idea. These days, many authors run them. I had a real launch party when the print version of the novel came out, with readings, Russian songs, caviar, and vodka.
Do you plan your social media posts far in advance or do you post as you see fit?
I plan my blog posts in advance, working to a pattern across the month, and my monthly interview spot Elizabeth Chats With… is scheduled until the autumn already. At launch times I plan Facebook and Twitter campaigns in advance; I can pre-schedule Facebook posts and once I get to grips with Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, I will do the same for Twitter. But the rest of the time, I just go with the flow, depending on how much time I have available. I try to post every day, but don’t obsess about it if I don’t have time.
How frequently do you post to Twitter? Do you have a method to increase engagement and interaction? Do you have favourite hashtags?
I post to Twitter most days. I use #MondayBlogs and #wwwblogs, both of which are great ways to increase engagement. I always follow back anyone who follows me, but once a week, I use Twitnerd to weed out the spammers (the ones who follow just to get a follow back then unfollow). I send a welcome Tweet to all genuine new followers and combine that with #ff (Follow Friday) where I engage with anyone who’s interacted with me in the past week. On the other days, I have a list of favourite contacts whose Tweets I retweet.
When Elizabeth Ducie had been working in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years, she decided she’d like to take a break from technical writing—text books, articles, and training modules—and write about some of her travel experiences instead. She took some courses in Creative Writing and discovered to her surprise that she was happier, and more successful, writing fiction than memoirs or life-writing. In 2012, she gave up the day job, and started writing full-time. In addition to her debut novel, Gorgito’s Ice Rink, she has published three collections of short stories. Having run her own business for more than twenty years, she also lecture and writes on business skills for writers.
What are your favourite Twitter hashtags?