Wednesday, July 6, 2011

10 WOW Wednesday: Christine Fonseca

Today's guest post is from Christine Fonseca, a school psychologist by day and YA and nonfiction author by night. Christine believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her books include EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS (2010) and 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS (2011). In addition to books about giftedness, she writes contemporary and fantasy fiction for teens. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life on her blog.

Seven Things I’ve Learned Promoting My Book
My first book, Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students, was released in October 2010. Since that time I have had three print runs. Now, before you brain gets too busy trying to do the math on that, let me say that this is an educational title for a small niche. Or at least, that is what it was originally intended to be. Distribution was planned to be predominately through the publisher’s catalogs and conventions. And while I have sold many copies that way, I’ve also managed to sell a lot – much more than was planned – through more traditional online retailers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

In March 2011, my second book, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids was released. Marketing this one was a little different, as the audience was now kids. Between both books I’ve learned a lot about book promotion and helps with not only the nonfiction titles, but also fiction. In fact, the things I’ve learned has even helped me with writing.

So, I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned promoting my work thus far:

  1. Know Your Market.
Before you design a promotional campaign of any form, it is important to have a clear understanding of your primary and secondary markets. With nonfiction, most authors figured this out when they wrote the “marketing” section of their proposals. Fiction authors should go through this process too. Ask yourself who the book is for – teens, children, adults? Who is the secondary market for the book? With 101 Success Secrets, the primary market is kids from 8 – 12, with secondary markets being older kids and parents. Educators and mental health professionals could also be considered secondary markets.

Now, with fiction, it is important to go through this step BEFORE finishing your book. Where does your book fit in the very crowded marketplace?

  1. Know Your Comfort Zone.
As with all forms of social networking and marketing, it is important to know your own personal strengths and weaknesses. Are you comfortable speaking in person to a large group, or is Skyping or chatting more your thing? Do you like to cold call potential hosts for tours, or does the thought of that give you hives? Knowing your comfort zone is important. Don’t spent a lot of time doing things you hate  – you will only make yourself crazy. Instead, spend your time promoting in ways that you are comfortable with. In today’s market, you are really only limited in terms of promotion by your own comfort level. So, get to know what works best for you and your book. Then repeat it over and over again.

  1. Set Clear Goals for Promotion.
I have a background in marketing in sales (before my days as a psychologist), so the first thing I did was set clear monthly goals for promotion. I planned one major event – blog tour, book signing, speaking engagement – monthly. I’ve really tried to space out the events to keep the message from getting muddled and maintain a regularly presence.

  1. Blog Tours and Book Tours.
These are both fabulous ways to connect with readers. The important thing to remember – planning. With blog tours, ask people in your particular niche to host a leg. If you are targeting teens, for example, try to have a blog that is frequented by teens host a leg of the tour. The same is true with book tours – market to both chain and independent booksellers. Do your homework; know which stores are well connected with your niche. A couple of other things to keep in mind:
·         Start early – proper planning of events is really a key.
·         Know the expectations of the host. Ask questions about how they envision your visit, or what they see as their role in the blog tour.
·         Stay organized – use spreadsheets and other organization tools to keep track of the places you pitched too, the hosts of your tour, and any giveaways.
·         Send reminders to participants. We are all busy and it is easy to forget things. Take on that burden and don’t be alarmed when things get forgotten. Just be prepared.
·         Remember to follow-up with a thank you. There is no substitution for good manners! Personal thank you notes go a long way to letting your hosts know how much you appreciated working with them

  1. Other Venues to Connect with Readers.
I love doing Author chats. In fact, my author chats are really the reason I have sold as well as I have. In addition to in-person events, I am involved in webinars and events on SecondLife. These are amazing ways to connect with readers and enable you to “go global”. I cannot tell you how excited I am to host a global bookchat in a few weeks.

Be willing to get creative and look for new ways to connect your message to your market. For my newest book, 101 Success Secrets, I have created all new reader-experiences to bring to my book chats. I can’t wait to see how they work out.

  1. Using Social Networking sites.
Promoting your message is about creating buzz. In this day and age, it is easier than ever to create buzz on a large scale. But, how do you separate yourself from all the noise out there? That’s easy. Be creative. Do something unique and different – and then make sure EVERYONE knows about it. For my niche, the message itself is unique to the market. So my job was getting it to the right people. Utilizing niche-specific social networking venues (#gtchat on twitter, participating in gifted groups on facebook), I have been able to bring awareness to my message, and my books, directly to those most likely to read it.

  1. You Are Only As Good As Your Last Book.
Finally, people have short attention spans. This means the message you have is easily replaced by the next greatest thing out there. To keep your sales up and your message heard, it is important to keep writing. Produce new content – either on a blog, or in a newsletter. Respond in fresh ways to the questions readers have. And write new books. This is how you cultivate a writing career – fresh content of the highest quality.


  1. These are all such great tips Christine. It's good to know we don't have to do what we hate to do. What type of author chats do you do?

  2. Thanks for the tips - I love #2 (know your comfort zone) b/c it seems like it would be very easy to want to say "yes" to every request.

  3. Ditto'ing Natalie about these all being great tips. And your books sound fabulous. I know two people each book would be perfect for!

  4. Christine is so smart! It boggles the mind.

  5. Excellent tips. And congrats on your success!

  6. Fabulous tips! Thanks for sharing info about your books, too!

  7. Christine, glad to see your hard work has paid off and you've learned some things on your journey. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I'm jotting down notes... This is an excellent interview. Thanks for all the information Christine.

  9. Thanks so much for these tips. Great advice for authors and parents who read your books!

  10. Thanks, Christine, for this great article! Good stuff to ponder and think about NOW, before I get to the promotion part of my author journey. Good advice not to do things you hate as a writer, too--I have my personal limits! ;o)


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