Interview with Tracy Fenton, Founder of THE Book Club – Part Two.

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Today I’d like to welcome Tracy Fenton back to the blog. Due to overwhelming popularity, I thought it only right to invite Tracy back for a second interview. If you haven’t already read the first interview, then you might like to read it here. Thank you, Tracy, for taking the time to answer my questions. Let’s begin.

 

Since your first interview here THE Book Club has grown to now having over 6000 members. How do you keep everyone in line?
I’d love to say with a taser gun and through threats of violence, but the truth is that the group pretty much regulates itself now, as we have such a strong group of dedicated members who are very quick to report “inappropriate” posts or even in the past calm down controversial posts just by being the kind and supportive people they are. We also have a very strong admin team who are online 24/7 watching and lurking and ready to delete when necessary. Shout out to Helen Boyce, Helen Claire, Sharon Bairden, Loo Elton, Teresa Nikolic, Carol Ellis and Sumaira Wilson and obviously Charlie Fenton.

tracy-with-tess-gertsonThere was a lot of excitement about (and photos of) the recent Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Festival in Harrogate. What was your personal highlight of the event?
I had a fantastic time in Harrogate this year and quite a few stand out moments. I was invited to a private lunch with Linwood Barclay which was pretty cool. Listening to Tess Gerritsen (with Tracy, left) speak for an hour on her panel was jaw-droppingly awesome and so inspirational and then getting a signed book and photo with her. Meeting up with several TBC members who I hadn’t actually met in real life before and being able to give them a hug. Sitting next to Linwood Barclay at a private lunch. Meeting up with 4 of the TBC admin team for the first time despite chatting with them 10 times a day for the past year. tracy-with-linwood-barclayTaking a selfie with Linwood Barclay at a private lunch (as seen on the left.) Being invited to a special panel to discuss Mark Edward’s new book The Devil’s Work and finally did I mention I met Linwood Barclay?

 

 

 

How important is knowing authors on social media to your book buying choices? Are you more likely to choose a book by an author you know, rather than one you don’t?
Honestly? Not important at all. I read what I want to read when I want to read it. At the moment I have decided to only read TBC author members during the month of September and only read authors I haven’t read before #cherrypop which I am thoroughly enjoying as I am reading genres I probably would never read before… and some I will never read again. Knowing authors on social media can sometimes be a double-edged sword because I might LOVE them on Twitter and Facebook but I know that I wouldn’t read their book because it just isn’t my type of book, but because there is a social link there is a slight element of pressure to read their book.  Continue reading

Interview with Tracy Fenton, the founder of THE Book Club.

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You might be asking ‘who is Tracy Fenton?’ Well she is founder of THE Book Club on Facebook. This is a secret group that can’t be found via searching. The only way you can gain access is to be invited by an existing member. Tracy set the group up after becoming tired of the spamming and bad atmosphere of other groups that were too big to be moderated properly. After almost two years the group has become influential for authors and publishers – who often offer exclusive ARC copies of books to club members! The group is made up of a combination of authors and readers and has a really positive, supportive atmosphere.

So, I have asked Tracy (with no ‘e’ –  it’s important to remember that if you’re invited to join the group!) some questions so we can find out more about her, her reading preferences and how she reacts to meeting her favourite authors. Here’s what she said:

Tracy book What was the first book you read that made an impact on you?
Too many books to mention – however Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes was probably the first psychological thriller I had read and experienced some intense emotions including fear, dread and terror that it changed my entire reading tastes as prior to that book I was more of a chick-lit/rom-com type of girl. The Wronged Sons by John Marrs also had a profound effect on me. It was the first time I had ever been compelled to contact an author and tell him how much I loved his book. I messaged him via Goodreads and didn’t actually expect a reply and when he replied almost instantly telling me how important it was to hear from readers, my entire attitude to reading changed and I realised that authors were “human” too and needed love and support and encouragement.

Since setting up TBC, what has been your proudest ‘book’ achievement?
Again too many to mention. My first acknowledgement in a book, being a named character in a book, raising £10k for Cancer Research through our Charity Book Auction. Being contacted by authors asking for “my” opinion… really? Why me? Being contacted by members who tell me how much TBC has changed their reading habits and sometimes their lives.

Tracy with Peter James In a previous interview with #CrimeBookJunkie Noelle Holten, you say that you were a very shy child. Which author have you been the most shy or nervous about meeting?
I would have to say either Peter James (pictured with Tracy, right) or Lee Childs. I am a huge fan of both authors and meeting them at Harrogate last year was almost like an “out of body experience”. However, both Peter and Lee were absolutely wonderful and it was a pleasure and an honour to be able to meet them, have a chat and take some photos. Continue reading

Interview with mystery author and blogger, Anne R Allen

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Today I’m pleased to be able to welcome mystery author Anne R Allen to the blog. Anne is the author of ten books, including the bestselling CAMILLA RANDALL MYSTERIES and HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE, co-written with NYT bestseller Catherine Ryan Hyde. Her latest is SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM, a humorous mystery about Internet trolls.

Lets begin.

Did you always want to write? Were you inspired from an early age from the books you read as a child?
I’ve been a writer pretty much since I could hold a crayon. I used to write stories in the margins of my coloring books to go with the pictures. My parents were both PhDs who taught literature at the university level, so I was born into a house full of books. My parents read to me every night. Books were always part of my life. I was especially inspired by the Wizard of Oz series. I think because the hero was an independent little girl.

How quickly did you become involved in the ‘Kindle Revolution’? Could you see the potential from the beginning?
I wasn’t one of the first to join the Kindle crowd. I’ve always been with small presses and let my publishers make decisions about format. But as soon as they put my work on Amazon as ebooks in 2011, I saw my sales soar, so I knew they were onto something. I already had a blog, and it was easy to see how my online presence could influence online sales, so I made a point of learning to use social media.

I think I learned the most about online marketing from the fantastic women of the Indie Chicks Anthology. They invited me to join because I was with an “indie” micropress, even though the rest were self-published. They taught me the ropes.

You write both fiction and non-fiction. Do you enjoy writing one more than the other?
I probably write a lot more non-fiction than fiction—if you consider the amount of time I spend writing blog posts—but my heart is still with my fiction. Writing fiction is hard, but I love it. Writing non-fiction is easier, but it doesn’t give me the same sense of joy.

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Interview with Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound

1Joan Stewart headshot 180 by 180Today I am pleased to welcome Joan Stewart, well known as The Publicity Hound, to the blog. Joan is a publicity, marketing and PR expert. She helps get products, services and books in front of as many people as possible. Many of the resources Joan offers are free and easy to implement, such as the hints and tips she suggests in her twice weekly e-mail newsletter.  I recommend you subscribe here. Thank you for taking part Joan, let’s begin the interview:

I see on your blog that you were a newspaper editor before a Publicity Hound. What was it that caused the job change?

By the mid-80s, it was apparent that the newspaper industry was marching toward the graveyard. I also disliked working in an industry in which customer service was always at the bottom of the priority list. I loved writing and editing the news. But eventually, by the 90s, that turned into a job in which I did little more than cut budgets and lay off reporters, and hear people who didn’t get their paper gripe that there was no one in the Circulation Department to take complaints on Sunday morning, when we sold the greatest number of papers.

 

Since starting your business have you always been known as The Publicity Hound and how did you decide on that name?

One of the first books I read when I started my own business was Marcia Yudkin’s book “6 Steps to Free Publicity.” One of her chapter titles is “The Publicity Hound.” I can remember thinking, “Clever.”

About a year later, when I decided to publish a print newsletter, I needed a name. “The Publicity Hound” popped into my mind one afternoon while I was walking. The print newsletter eventually bled red ink. It morphed into an ezine, and that morphed into twice-a-week snack-size email tips. People kept commenting about the name “The Publicity Hound” and how it was such a memorable name and a great brand. Media Relations Consulting Inc. (big yawn) became “dba The Publicity Hound.” I got a trademark for “The Publicity Hound” and now use it exclusively.

 

As an editor and publicist you write a great deal. Have you ever considered writing any fiction?

Never! I wouldn’t know where to begin. Besides, I know how much work book marketing is, particularly for fiction. I decided long ago to forego the print book and concentrate instead on much more profitable info-products.

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The Top 10 Resources for Self-Publishing Authors

Self-publishing authors have a fair bit to do: Write, edit and format books, design covers, learn how to use Kindle Direct Publishing (and other publishing outlets) and explore how to best make use of social media to market their work. The following is a list of resources which I found to be the most helpful with the self-publishing process:

The Book Designer   1JoelF

The Book Designer is put together by Joel Friedlander, and it covers all aspects of self- publishing. The site is easy to navigate and has popular posts grouped together on the home page with articles put into categories. Personally, I’ve learned a lot from Joel’s site and from the authors who guest-write posts on his behalf. Take a look at the ‘Start Here’ section on the home page to introduce yourself to the scope of articles which are available.

2 Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound  1JStewart

You’ll find more than 2,000 blog posts and articles, hundreds of learning tools, and lots of free advice on how to tell your story to the world on Joan’s site. If you’re having trouble deciding how best to market and promote your book, then there are numerous articles here that will help. Joan is also great at blogging and shares tips to help you improve your author blog posts  Continue reading