I'm so excited to introduce you to our next guest, Tony Eldridge. Tony is the author of the action/adventure book, "The Samson Effect", that Clive Cussler calls a "first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure" and the Twitter marketing book, "Conducting Effective Twitter Contests". He also share his book marketing tips with fellow authors through his blog, marketing Tips For Authors, and through his free weekly video marketing tips for authors.I personally follow Tony on Twitter and his blog, where he generously offers many marketing tips as well as free resources to help you market your books. I know you'll enjoy what Tony has to share with us today!
1. Hi, Tony! Thanks so much for agreeing to interview with us. To start off can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you decide to become an author?
Shelley, let me start by thanking you for the opportunity to meet your followers; I really appreciate it. I've been writing most of my life. I was in college when I published my first magazine articles but it was over 10 years after college before I wrote my first book. I started to hang out with my brother-in-law who was working on his book, and the author bug bit me. After devouring everything I could read on the craft writing, and joining local critique groups, I completed my second novel, The Samson Effect, which I ended up publishing. Once I started writing, I knew I found something that would be with me for life.
2. You have an interesting story about how the rights to your book, "The Samson Effect", were bought to make a motion picture. Can you briefly fill our readers in and let us know if there is an expected release date?
Soon after I published my book, I received an e-mail from a film producer who happened across my website. He said he started to get congratulations on writing a book, which was funny, because he didn't write one. After a little research, he found my website because we share the same name: Tony Eldridge. After asking for the manuscript, he made an offer to acquire the rights.
As of now, we just have to wait and see if the project goes any further, but it is an interesting story and has helped me promote my book. You can read a copy of the press release that he, Tony Eldridge- producer, wrote about finding my book and you can read more about the producer Tony Eldridge at his IMBD page.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about your product "Conducting Effective Twitter Contests"? I personally have read it and highly recommend it!
When I was first getting into social media marketing for my book, I was sitting with zero followers. I have a marketing background and so I put some general marketing knowledge into play to help me expand my online exposure. I knew the quickest way to do that was to get in front of the followers of an existing author or expert. So I decided to run a contest and I asked established experts to donate prizes in return for me promoting them via the contest. It worked beyond my expectations. Since then, I have run a few contest and I'm in the process of planning a new one for April 22nd through May 1st.
I had so many people ask me about my experiences with Twitter contests that I wrote a book that walks people through, step-by-step, on how to conduct their own Twitter contests. In it, my experience teaching university classes as a graduate student came out and I used the book to teach general marketing principles that goes beyond learning simply how to conduct Twitter contests. I created how-to videos so readers could actually look over my shoulders and learn how to do some of the more technical aspects of conducting Twitter contests. When the was done, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author and instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program, dubbed me as "The Twitter Contest King."
4. How important would you say social networking sites (such as Twitter) are to book marketing?
Social networking sites are becoming more important to authors every day. It used to be that these sites were the "poor authors" alternative to not having a national marketing budget and publicity staff to handle their book promotion efforts. Now, even best selling authors have staked their claim in the social networking world. These sites are vital to authors because they facilitate relationships with readers. It's a way for readers to reach out and connect with someone who writes the books they read. And the social nature of these sites means that it's so easy for one reader to share info about you with someone they know.
That said, it's important that an author really think hard about how to develop and use these social networking sites to market their book. Done right, they can literally put an unknown author on the map. But if an author doesn't use these sites effectively, the sites really won't do a thing to help them market their books. In fact, these sites can do a lot to scuttle an author's book marketing efforts if authors are not careful in how they use them.
5. On your website and blog you give out tons of marketing tips. Do you have a favorite, or something that you think everyone marketing a book should know?
Hmmm... That's a great question. I suppose that all the technical aspects of book marketing can be learned or hired out for someone else to complete. But the one thing that I'd say has the biggest impact on the book marketing aspect is relationship building. Reaching out to readers, authors, and other experts to create a mutually beneficial relationship.
Building a readership is a very long and hard thing to do when you have to find readers one at a time. But if you develop a strong network, you can enlist an army of people who are eager to share the news of your book to the people they know. But the secret in developing this kind of network is being available for them. The more you give of yourself to help others, the more people will help you. In my opinion, authentic, sincere relationships will yield more than you could ever buy with money.
6. You also list tons of freebies on your site, including a great list of free word processors. I love that you gave a run down describing each one of them, can you tell us if you would recommend them over paying for Microsoft office and whether or not they are compatible with it?
I personally use Microsoft Word even though there are things that I hate about it. But because so many of my business relationships require that I use it, it's more convenient for me to stay up on it. That said, I do keep my eye out for other resources. If I didn't use Word, I'd probably be using Open Office, the free, open source alternative to Word and MS Office.
But for people who really want a word processor designed to help novelists, yWriter and StorYBook would be my favorites because they have so many built-in tools to help you organize and develop your story. Just about any word processor out there, including MS Word, will allow you to save your work in RTF format, which makes sharing files among them all pretty easy.
7. In closing, can you tell our readers how they can sign up to get your marketing tips or purchase your books?
Absolutely! If you visit my blog, Marketing Tips For Authors, you can sign up for my posts to be delivered via e-mail, find information about my books, including the Kindle versions of The Samson Effect and Conducting Effective Twitter Contests, and sign up for my free video tips for authors. Thank you so much for your hospitality and I wish your readers all the best in their publishing endeavors.
I appreciate Tony taking time out of his busy schedule to share his expertise with us! I highly recommend following Tony on Twitter as well as his blog where he shares valuable information, tips and resources for authors.
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