Marketing Q&A With Author Darden North
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Do you use Goodreads? If so, how have you found your experience?
I participate in Goodreads as both a reader and an author, listing my four published novels, House Call, Points of Origin, Fresh Frozen, and Wiggle Room on my author page. Then, as a reader, I rank my current print or digital audio obsession and post reviews of the novels I finish. I do not review a novel that I cannot rank at least four or five stars. A book review is not a synopsis, but should focus on honest perceptions of the novel, including assessments of characterization, plot pace, and uniqueness of the storyline. In fact, I have a small group of Goodreads friends who follow my reviews and comment on them. As far as personally soliciting reviews through Goodreads reading groups, I have found them to be a dedicated, but very thorough, bunch.
With the recent changes to Facebook, has your Facebook author page experienced a drop in reach? What are you doing to combat it?
As of today, my Facebook author page has garnered over 1500 Likes, and I am not aware of a drop in reach. I hope to continue to expand my reader fan base through this medium in anticipation of the publication of my fifth novel (work-in-progress), When the Bee Stings. My FB posts are kept as personal and relevant as possible to my current writing projects, and we try to work in some humor and a contest now and then. The 1000 Likes milestone was celebrated with the contest: Guess the type of animal in the title of my upcoming fifth novel. The lucky fan who guessed “bee” won a free audio download from audible.com of my second novel, Points of Origin.
With giveaways a popular form of marketing for authors, do you find them successful? Why or why not?
Upon the release of my current thriller, Wiggle Room, its publisher Sartoris Literary Group sponsored a 48-hour Kindle download giveaway. While the response propelled Wiggle Room into the top of the general fiction list on Amazon, which is by definition “best-seller” status, a lot of my loyal readers proudly told me later that they had my new book on their iPhone (my assumption being that they had the temporarily free Kindle version), but then skipped the bookstore signing and purchase of a print copy of Wiggle Room. Whatever happened to buying an extra copy for a friend? The Kindle giveaway did generate a larger number of Amazon reviews than experienced with my earlier novels.
Do you have a professionally designed author logo or branding? Why you feel these elements are important to your overall marketing efforts?
With the release of my first novel, House Call, my book cover designer and marketing firm dreamed up the tagline: “Finally, a doctor whose writing you can read!” I have weaved that author tagline into my marketing efforts since. The correlation between my working as a board-certified obstetrics and gynecology physician while writing medical thrillers and mysteries always brings a smile or chuckle to a new or prospective reader. You can find the tagline on the Home page of my website, my author business cards, banner displays at book signings and festivals, and on book synopsis flyers.
How important do you think award submissions are for book marketing? Have you ever won or submitted for an award?
Any living being appreciates being appreciated, even novelists. Both the media and readers take notice of awarded authors. I am blessed to be able to promote myself as a nationally (US) awarded author, most notably for an IPPY in Southern Fiction for my second novel, Points of Origin, presented by the Independent Publisher Book Awards. House Call was a 2008 Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and Fresh Frozen received five national awards: Overall Winner for Best Cover Design and Finalist in Regional Fiction in the 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards, Honorable Mention in General Fiction in the 2009 San Francisco Book Festival Awards, and Finalist in Best Cover Design Fiction and Finalist in Regional Fiction in the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The Mississippi Institute for Arts and Letters nominated all three in the Fiction award category.
Darden North is the national award-winning author of four mystery and thriller novels, most notably an IPPY in Southern Fiction. His medical suspense has been hailed as putting Robin Cook on notice and his writing style described as vivid with strong pace, counterbalanced with sharp observations and wry humor. North has conducted workshops on constructing mysteries and thrillers and has served on several author panels. Prior to attending medical school, he was a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Mississippi and active in student political and social organizations. Darden North is a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist in Jackson, Mississippi, where he lives with wife, Sally.
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