Saturday, September 01, 2007

Panel Discussion: Marketing


LaShaunda C. Hoffman, Dyanne Davis, Shelia Goss, Dee Stewart, Electa Rome Parks, Dara Girard, Ayn Hunt, Sylvia Hubbard, Cheryl Robinson, Andrea Jackson,
L. Martin Johnson Pratt, Debra Owsley


Shelia said...

Good morning everyone. My name is Shelia Goss. It's been an aspiring and informative week. I will be discussing ways to promote your book while on a "tight" budget.

Here's my official bio: Shelia M Goss is the author of the Essence Magazine and Black Expressions Book Club Best seller My Invisible Husband, Roses are thorns, Violets are true, Paige's Web and Double Platinum. Shelia has received numerous accolades over the years, including 2006 Infini's Outstanding Author, Literary Divas: The Top 100+ Most Admired African-American Women in Literature, Honorable mention in a New York Times article and Writer's Digest article and the recipient of three Shades of Romance Magazine Reader's Choice Awards. Besides writing fiction, Shelia is an entertainment writer. To learn more, go to

Regardless, of whether you’re with a major publisher or self-published, you are responsible for promoting your book.

You may have written the best book ever, but if people don’t know about it; it’ll sit around and collect dust.

Recommended books for reading: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves by Jacqueline Deval, Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual and SORMAG Conference participant Carmen Leal’s book You Can Market Your Book.

Suggestion: Start promoting your book as soon as you know it’ll be published. Be as creative as you want within your budget.

“Who is your target audience?” Are you trying to promote a romance novel to a group of readers who primary read sci-fi?

Below are several ways to promote your book: (Click on link to access)

Rae L. said...

Thank you for posting the book recommendations and link to your promotions blog, Sheila. Very invaluable information I'm going to keep handy for my book releases. :-)

Question for everyone on the panel: What has been the most challenging aspect in promoting your books?

Rae Lindley

Shelia said...

Rae, I hope the information helps.

What has been the most challenging aspect in promoting my books? I would have to say a limited budget.

Dyanne said...

Good morning all,

This has been one of the most refreshing conferences I've ever attended. I've learned more, I'm not as tired and I don't owe anything on my charge. And as a side benefit I've been, Marketing, promoting, networking, learning, sharing and most important of all I've been lifted up in prayer in the prayer room. Thank you to all who are praying.

Did I forget to say my name? Well I'm allowed. It's my birthday today and I will be leaving the conference about noon. I'm Dyanne Davis.

To start with LaShaunda offers ways for authors to market their work. But since she's on the panel I'll leave that to her.

The new tool that I want to talk about is something you can do for free. Book trailers. I was amazed the first time I saw one at RT this year. Kayla's was so well done that I went and bought her book. When Seressia made one I knew I would have one because she would help me. Remember this all ties in with networking and also and helping each other.

Before Seressia had a chance to help me I was told how to do it myself. If I can do it anyone can.

Anyone that has windows XP has the tool. Go to start....Then you will see a listing of everything in your computer. Go to accessories. It should be in the first column. Put your mouse on accessories and you will get another list out to the side. Scroll down to the third from the bottom. (On mine) and it will say Windows movie maker. That's it

You follow the direction inserting pictures and music. You get to delete and keep trying it out until you have it the way you like it.

I placed my book trailer on youtube FOR FREE!! And it's on myspace

There are three internet tools that you can use for free to market your work: Blogger--which I wholeheartedly recommend. You can market yourself and your work long before your work comes out and you can do it even before you have anything coming out.

Then you have myspace. I'm not saying you won't find a fair share of nuts who want to date you or send you half naked pictures but you just delete them or block them. But Myspace is a useful tool and It's Free.

Then we have my new favorite youtube. It's free.

Remember this, any of the things that I suggested you try for marketing can be removed by you should you decide you don't like it. I just wanted to give you some FREE marketing tools.

Many writers in my chapter don't want the expense of a website until they're published. Yahoo site builders is the way to go. It's under $10.00 per month and you can build your site the way you want it off line and publish it. It's easy to make changes and updates. And if it's easy enough for me to use it's easy enough for anyone.

Domain name. If you've decided on your domain name then by all means go ahead and buy it while it's available because later it might not be. You can buy your domain name at for $1.99 per year.

Don't think if you're not yet published you have nothing to put on a blog or a website. You do. You're unique. There is only one of you. You can involve people in your dream and when it happens they will be cheering for you.

You can start your marketing as soon as this conference is over and remember you can start it FOR FREE! Good luck to all. It's been really great visiting. Happy holiday


odebdeb said...

"SIMPLY SAID" is my company. I offer personalized, hand made bookmarks, book thongs, and greeting cards. I would love to personalize some of these items just for you. These items are GREAT GIFTS TO FANS, GIVEAWAYS, BOOK SIGNINGS, PROMOTIONAL EVENTS, RELEASE PARTIES, AND CONTESTS for your website, as well as wonderful additions to your PRESS PACKETS.

can have your picture, current work, several of your recent works, coming releases, your biography, contact information, tour schedule, or what ever you decide you want. We can work out a design EXCLUSIVE to you. Full size is 2 x 8, the half size is 2x 4, heavy laminated with a satin ribbon.

are wonderful gifts for contest winners. They are "book jewelry" for the book lover. They come in 5 colors that can be mixed and matched to coincide with the cover of your newest release, or theme.

can offer a line or a phase from your book, which you feel is paramount, a great punch line, a verse, or a thank you note to your loyal fans. All cards can have a coordinating book mark made to match; both items only cost a .41 cent stamp to mail.

I really want to work with you. I do understand that bookmarks are an industry standard, but my bookmarks are not the standard. They are YOUR "A" GAME. I prefer to call them "GIFT MARKS" These are not throw away items. They are thank you gifts to loyal fans, book clubs, and gifts at more intimate signings. You will be remembered each time they are used. Let's talk about what your needs are, what you would like, and how we can make this happen for us both.
Thank You


Sylvia Hubbard said...

Good morning.

First and foremost, I would like to thanks LaShaunda for the invite. I've been busy reading all the comments and postings from each panel and now today I serve as one of the panel members. (It's also my daughters birthday, but I have my wireless beside me and refreshing my screen.)

I'm Sylvia Hubbard, independent author of four paperback and 10 ebooks, founder of Motown Writers Network, the Michigan Literary Network, Michigan Murder & Mayhem, and The African American Electronic Literary Network.

I travel around the country and speak on Internet Marketing for Writers & Businesses and I've written a book, Internet Marketing for Writers & Businesses.

I've promoted online and offline for my books and I can say marketing is one of the most difficulty parts of the book process.

Question for everyone on the panel: What has been the most challenging aspect in promoting your books?

Other than the previous answer of limited money, The second most challenging has been finding new readers. Not just readers who will buy and read the book, but I love the readers that pass the word about your book. The ones that tell their friends and family and encourage people they haven't met to check you out. Those are the readers I love to acquire.

Other than the wonderful article Sheila wrote about promoting on a budget (and when she does a workshop, YOU MUST take it because it's wonderful! and also the other great suggestions of the panel, I can make other ones as well:

1. Promote at least ten minutes a day on the internet

2. Take 50 postcards every day and pass them out to people. Grocery stores, banks, restaurants and so forth.

3. When sitting at a restaurant place your book on the table (in a cute stand) and just eat. Trust me, hungry readers cannot pass by without checking you out.

4. Have your book available in other formats other than just paperback. (ebooks and audio are even cheaper than paper printing.)

5. Blogging works! Do it and do it often. 52 times a year equals one post a week on a blog. You will better your search engine chances of being at the top when people are looking for you or what you write.

6. Change your website at least every two weeks. Don't use your website as a billboard for your books. Make it interactive, fun and rewarding for readers that will make them want to come back and when they do, they see something new. (I love LA Banks site and I'm a continuous visitor just to see what eles she's put up or installed or made available.)

7. Giveaways can be ebooks, bookmarks, pens or pencils. has personalized pencils for less than ten dollars for two dozen. I was at a warehouse store and found these great bookmarks (1000 in the pack for $10) with nothing on the backside so I took avery labels with my book information and put it there to pass out for readers. Ebooks can be full length novels or supplementals to the books you already have. I'm coming out with my novel Secrets, Lies & Family Ties this September, but I have as an ebook Cabin Fever which has the behind story of the best friend to the main character. I've also been known to take ebooks or audio, put them on disc and pass them out cheaply when I'm doing a booksigning face to face.

8. Use other author friends. Sydney Molare and I switched one month on our blogs and it was a great way for me to attract new readers, while she in turned attracted mine. Ask for features on your author friends blogs and in turn feature them. I've been known to pass out postcards in bookstores and cafe shops of other authors from different states and in turn they do this for me. One author did a contest and featured one of my books as a prize while I posted the contest all over the place because it featured my book, which in turn helped her as well.

Whew! I know I laid out a lot and I do offer a lot more suggestions in my book Internet Marketing for Writers & Businesses, plus thousands of resources (including LaShaunda's etour services).

PS: I suggest any writer or author take a class on basic html which is usually offered for FREE (my favorite word) at a local public library.

Okay off to light the candles.

Shelia said...

Dyanne, Happy Birthday. Virgos are in the house :)

Thanks for the instructions on the book trailers. I've been trying to figure out how to do it and never ran across any instructions. I hope you don't mind if I contact you off loop later if I have any questions.

Shelia said...

I highly recommend Debra's products. They make great door prizes.

Dyanne said...


Tell your daughter happy birthday from me, from one Sept. 1st baby to another.


Shelia said...

Sylvia, thanks for the tips. I need to look into how my books can become available via ebooks and audio.

LaShaunda said...

Hi I’m LaShaunda and promotion is my middle name. I want thank you for finishing out the conference with me. I thank you for your time, because we had plenty of reading so I know you spent some time here.

I want to talk about online promotion.

There are many ways to promote online for a fee and for free.

I’ll get the for free first, since I need to make some funds. I have tons of review books to send out and postage is outrageous.

SORMAG - has been promoting writers and their books for seven years. We have rates for every budget and we work with you to help you make the right marketing decisions. We have two ways of promoting.

On the blog - After the conference take a moment to check out the blog and see how other authors have promoted their boos. You can click on the archives on the left side of the blog.

For rates -

On our new promotion tool - - We offer online tours.

Our promotion is linked for the whole month and archived for years, so readers have a chance to see it all year long.


Signature - This is the best way to promote yourself online and its free, Make sure you always include a signature with every email you send out. Include a link to your site, feature a short blurb about your book. Tease the reader.

Blogs - Even if you don’t have your own blog, visit your friends and favorite authors. Leave a comment make sure you have a link to your site. You want to bring readers back to your site.

Yahoo groups - Join groups and participate. Don’t just post when your books come out. The groups are a way to network. Network, network and network. Groups are where you find the information you need to learn about the industry.

Email lists - You want to build your lists with friends and family and readers. The bigger it grows, the more free promotion you have. Offer excerpts and prizes to those who sign up for it.


A lot of authors are going on blog tours. They’re fun and they’re free (almost) some sites require a copy of the book, which you already have so its free.

Contact your friends and other sites you visit and see if they would like to host you. (This is what I do for you so you can spend your time writing ***SORMAG Tours plug***)

Pick the date you want to go on tour, then assign dates to all the sites who agreed to do a tour. Now you’re ready for the tour. Visit the sites on the assigned day and leave comments, talk to their readers. Each person is a potential new reader. Talk up your book offer them an excerpt and make sure they sign up on your email list. Its all about contacts and building the email list.


If you have a website, you can do contests, offer excerpts, do chats, host a forum, do workshops, feature monthly articles. Try to update your website monthly. You want to bring the readers back. They don’t return to a site that never changes.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’ll be checking in all day. Need to clean up the house, since I’ve been at the hospital and a conference all week.

Have a great holiday.

Vicki M. Taylor said...

What an amazing amount of marketing information. Good job, everyone!

Hi, I'm Dee said...

Good morning to you!

I'm Dee Stewart, a book critic, marketing consultant, and publicist.

I have a corporate background in marketing as I've worked as a marketing contractor for: The Coca Cola Company, AT&T, BellSouth, Muscular Dystrophy, The Centers for Disease Control, Edwards Pies and many others.

I love books and I love helping authors find opportunities to promote their book. I work with publicists, publishing houses and literary journals regarding tapping into AA bookbuyers. Moreover, I contribute book reviews and author interviews to Mosaic Literary Journal, Romantic Times, Gospel Today, and Atlanta Christian Family Magazine. To name a few. I also provide publicity support to Christian entertainers and ministers in the Atlanta area.

You can visit me online at Christianfiction dot blogspot dot com or every Monday at TheMastersArtist dot com. Search my site for more marketing tips as well.

Today I will share some information I give to clients. And answer any questions you have marketing.

1. When should you build a marketing campaign?

I would like to stress that it is important that you, the author devise your marketing plan when you build your book proposal. If you are a self-publisher then devise this plan as you write the book. If you wait until your book is published, then you're too late.

Most media/magazines prepare their yearly calendar six months to a year in advance. Honestly, most major magazines have an idea of who they want on their cover and what features articles they want to cover well in advance.

2. Know the business behind your publishing house.

A little word of advice...I provide book reviews for a popular national print mag. They will not provide book reviews to an author, whose publishing house does not advertise with their company. It is not unfair. It is business.

You have to understand that every month thousands of books are released. Most magazines offer two or three book review opportunities per issue, lit mags ten to thirteen according to genre. This means the odds of getting a book review in a mag is slim. Your publicist and your publishing house and your media contacts(me) up the odds of you getting a review.

When you decide to sign a contract with a publishing house know whether this publishing house or its parent company supports the print opportunities you wish to have. (i.e. Essence Magazine is a Time, Inc. Company. Simon & Schuster has a great relationship with them. Noted Author, Asha Bandele who was once a features editor for Essence has a contract with Simon & Schuster. Essence is owned by Time, Inc. Simon & Schuster by CBS. Both companies own 50% of the US Media Network and joined forces for the CW Channel. Odds are Essence will support Simon & Schuster and any other publishers a part of this relationship. Who is your book publisher?

Devise a plan that is profitable for those relationships.

3. Become friends with media.

If you have a book contract for a publisher, use some of your advance to host a book launch party. This is an opportunity for you to meet and build friendships with your local media and major media affiliates. Get with Pam Perry or Rebeca Seitz or Jean Wynne or your publicist about purchasing ARCS, gift bags and your publisher to buy books to give to your party attendees.

4. Use your Advance to Fund your Marketing Campaign.

It's not as costly as you think. Besides, you should look at your first book as a marketing tool to build your writing carer.

While I don't advise spending the entire advance on marketing, you need to feel comfortable with spending about $2500.

5. Connect with your Media Contacts and Your Publicists.

Pam Perry, Rebeca, Jean have great relationships with me. Why? I go to bat for their clients, because we have become friends. The honest truth.

Why is this helpful for you?

One of these women have an author client, who needed a last minute book review in one of the mags I write for. When I approached my editor about wiggling some room in the edition for this review. I received opposition. My editor, a new editor, didn't know the author very well. She didn't know if this author's publisher supported the mag. See. The mag will squeeze space for a client. I told her who her publisher was and what major media conglomerate this company was an imprint under. And bam...her review found space. In this author's industry, 1,000 books are release a month. Her book did not get in one of the eleven open slots. I shortened her review so that it could fill the page.

See what I mean.

Now do you see why giving a book away to reviewer isn't a waste of your money?

I have tons and tons of stories like these and others I would love to tell, but I need to save them for my own book. :)

But you ask me anything. If I can't get back with you today. Check Sormag or email me at vidae dot writing dot com.


PS. I advise you to visit the publicist panel as well.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning!
I’m a published author of Traditional Gothics, writing under the name of Ayn Hunt, and Romances using Ayn Amorelli. Although I’ve been writing all my life in one form or another, it was only after the turn of the century that I finally garnered up the courage to write what I’ve always wanted, Mysteries/Suspense novels featuring ghosts, (or Traditional Gothics). Deciding I needed to stretch my creative wings, I also started writing contemporary Romances.

I began promoting and marketing them immediately. After all, you can write the next best-seller, but if no one knows your book’s available, no one will buy it and make it the best-seller you envisioned. Now some people think promotion is like ‘tooting your own horn.’ But if I thought of it like that, I couldn’t do it. If there’s one thing I fear, hate and abhor, it’s drawing attention to myself.

But my novels…that’s another game all together! And since I’m the one who has to promote it, I pretend I’m an actress, playing a role. I practice expressions in the mirror. And write out a little script for greeting people and practice saying those lines over and over and over again, until I’ve memorized it. Then I say the memorized lines combined with expressions in the mirror until I like the results.

Some people say dress nicely but casually when speaking to bookstore clientele, libraries, etc. To that, I say “Baloney!” I dress to the inth degree, getting all dolled up in my (one) expensive suit, and load on the costume jewelry, spray expensive perfume all over me, do my hair, and am Looking Good.

I never sit down at a book signing. Instead, I look people over and approach those who seem receptive. Holding an attractive, professionally-made bookmark and a copy of my book, I recite my well-rehearsed spiel. I also have hubby along to take lots of pics with the flash attachment to get people’s attention. If there’s anything in the world that will draw people, it’s flashbulbs going off. And people love getting their picture taken with an honest-to-goodness local writer. I promise to autograph it whether they buy a book or not, and then pass them onto hubby who gets their address and asks if they’d like to receive flyers of my upcoming books. Some say “yes,” and others decline. That’s fine too. I’m there to create good will for my books, and while selling them right then is a plus, I know eventually a few will buy later.

Speeches, quite frankly, are harder. That’s because instead of a one-on-one situation, I’m speaking to an entire group. I once spoke to a group who’s most irritated member sat right up front, close to the podium, and scowled at me the entire time. After that experience, it took several months to get up the courage to speak in public again. But I did it. Not because I’m so wonderful. I’m not. But I did it because of my books. And speaking about my books is part of my job description.

Thank goodness for the Internet! I bless Bill Gates nearly every night. I know he didn’t invent the Net, that was done and harnessed by a man who’s name escapes me at the moment. But if Bill Gates hadn’t invented the computer, there wouldn’t be a Net to use.

From the safety of our own home, dressed any way we’re comfortable, we can reach people all over the world, with just a touch of a few buttons! One of the first things I did on the Net was create a free website to experiment with. Then I moved onto an upgraded one for which I pay a few dollars every month. After that, I joined as many writers groups as both Yahoo and AOL would allow, so I could learn the business of writing from those in the trenches. Writers are very generous in sharing their information and expertise. It’s one of the few professional groups whose members are like that.

Through networking with other writers, I learned about sites on which to list our books for free. And how to make a press kit to send to book stores and program managers of radio and TV stations. How to write press releases and what sites accepted them free of charge. I learned about queries and the dreaded synopsis and how to write them without freaking out.

There are still lots of moderated chats on-line. Do a search on the Net for those which are for writers and go into those which interest you and participate. Do a search for ezines and write articles for free to get your name out there. Do a search for ezines which give author interviews and do those. Get some business cards with your name, the name of your book, and website on it. always runs specials on 500 of them for just the cost of shipping. Drop them an e-mail and ask to be put on their mailing list. They do good work.

But most important of all, keep writing so you’ll always have something to promote.

Thank you.

V. Smith said...

Happy Birthday Dyanne.
It's Your day, Enjoy.

V. Smith

rhondajjoseph said...

Good morning, all,

Happy Birthday to the birthday people! I love it when my birthday falls on a Saturday--it seems extra special then.

Once again, I have to thank LaShaunda for another slam bang conference. I am so thankful to all of you who are so freely sharing your experiences! Marketing is indeed the hardest part of this walk for me. And as someone mentioned, the lack of funds is the biggest challenge. Thank God there are many low cost ways to do this.

Right now I am working on a plan to speak at more events and possibly begin giving workshops (on what, I haven't a clue!). But I attended an expo and noticed that all the writers who actually spoke or read from their books made way more sales and connections than others who didn't (me!). I started observing at other events, and this seemed to hold true, no matter what type of venue it was. Of course, the light bulb then went off, and I figured out that readers like to hear from real live people who write, and can connect better when they actually have a "conversation".

It took me a minute to come to the party, but I have arrived.

Dara Girard said...

The most challenging aspect of promoting for me is balancing marketing and writing. Being a salesperson versus being an artist. I have contract deadlines to complete while also having to market upcoming releases and must use my time wisely. Also if you're a shy person (like myself) it can be frightening, but as you can see from all the advice, there are many ways to make promoting fit your personality (thank goodness). Just don't forget to work on your next book. Because if you want to have a writing career you have to have books to promote.

donnah said...

This is so refreshing and informative!!! Glad I stopped by. I truly know about trying to promote your book on a budget! One thing that I did find extremely helpful and a great conversation piece was Debra Owsley's book marks and book thongs. I've used the thongs as gifts when I send out packages to bookclubs, and I've had the personalized bookmarks made for my own books. Everyone who sees them loves them and wants some of their own. They were a major hit on the Soul Expressions Tour. Economical and eyecatching.

Shelia said...

LaShaunda, thanks for providing this outlet. I've learned a lot and appreciate you using your platform to bring us all together.

projectr.e.a.d. said...

Hello everyone it is a pleasure to be here and to be able to share the stage with all of these Knowledgable and Informative experts!

Kulturefirst is an Author Promotion and Marketing Company to all African American Bookstores and Book Clubs in the USA. We only charge authors a very very small monthly fee. So you think that i would have the easiest job because i have many many clients. But to answer the question "What has been the most challenging aspect in promoting your books? For me"
A u t h o r s Please Listen Closely
THE CONTENT OF THE BOOKS i have had many many bookstores and bookclubs REFUSE to carry these BOOKS. Not only that but i am ashamed of many of covers and content that i see. That is why Black Writers Guild of America - and Kulturefirst Teamed up to do the STATE OF African American Literature Survey -
Which of course i would love to have all of you to take its only 7 questions and takes less than 1 minute. But the lack of content available makes it very difficult to promote all the authors that i come across. However the other side of my answer is that because there is some much one sided type of content available it makes very easy to promote authors who are not perceived as commercial.
We also promote and marketing many African American Products other than books such as SimplySaid "Giftmarks" and i can also vouch for the High Quality of Debra's work.

i can be reached at

LaShaunda said...

I want to share two places I learned about this year.

Myspace is free and a great way to network. Everybody is on myspace, so get on and start making friends.

How can you make friends. Two suggestions.

1 - What genre do you write?

For example do you writer romance? Then do a search on myspace and find the readers of romance.

Send them a comment and introduce yourself to them, tell them about your book, give them your myspace address and invite them to become your friend.

2. Send out bulletins using your myspace. This a free announcement service myspace does. I used it to announce this conference.

Since my name is unusual I searched for LaShaunda’s on myspace. I found twenty. I introduced myself telling them I was interested in meeting other LaShaundas. I had three become my friends.

3. They also offer a blog

So here’s your chance to blog if its something you wanted to try.

Shelfari is a new way to meet people who love books.

Sign up and send invites to your friends in your mailing list. You might be surprised at how many of your friends are already there.

Then start added your own books to your shelves and see how many other people have your books added to their shelves. These are the people you want to introduce yourself to, send them a note saying hi and thank them for having your book on their shelves. If you have an excerpt of another book, offer that as a thank you.

Join a couple groups and introduce yourself and your books. Before you know it you’re hooked.

LaShaunda said...


Can you tell us a little more about your survey? What will it be used for?

Thanks for adding romance. We romance readers appreciate it.

LaShaunda said...


Reviews is another way to promote your books. There are tons of review sites online. Ask your writer friends who they use. Tee Royals site and SORMAG love meeting new writers and promoting them.

I suggest you send two copies of your book. One for review and one they can use as a prize. Prizes always attract new readers.

Drop the site a note letting them know you’re sending the book, so they can be on the look out for it. Send a thank you note when the review is up.


Are another way to promote yourself and your books. The workshops you attended where articles. How many articles do you have inside. Write them down and share them. Some sites even pay for articles.


Do have something you can teach? This is another way to promote yourself. You can teach workshops online and at conferences, libraries, schools, organizations. Share your wisdom and see how many books you sale.


There are many sites, that still host chats. Send them an intro letter letting them know you’re interested in doing a chat with them

Guest blogger

How many of your fiends have a blog. Why not be a guest on their blog. Introduce yourself to their readers.

LaShaunda said...

Thank you so much to our panel for coming out today. I appreciate your time.

To those who attended to today and all this week. THANK YOU!

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I have.

Have a great weekend.

I'll see ya on the net.

linda beed said...

Good day to all. Happy birthday to all the special people here today.

I just want to say thank you to the panelists. The information shared here is invaluable.


Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

I'm author Electa Rome Parks. I'm running a little late, but better late than never. Right? I'll post my bio below:

Author Bio:

Electa Rome Parks, one of the rising stars in contemporary fiction, is the author of the best-selling novels THE TIES THAT BIND and LOOSE ENDS, which were originally self-published through her own company, Novel Ideal Publishing and Editorial Services Company.

After successfully self-publishing her debut novels, New American Library, a division of Penguin Group, bought the rights. Mrs. Parks signed a three-book deal with New American Library. Her first novel, THE TIES THAT BIND, was re-released in October 2004, and LOOSE ENDS was re-released in November 2004. Both books were immediately chosen as Black Expressions Book Club selections and embraced as Books of the Month by book clubs across the country. A third manuscript, ALMOST DOESN'T COUNT, which was immediately chosen as the main selection for Black Expressions Book Club, was released in August 2005.

Electa signed her second book deal with Penguin Group/New American Library. Her next project, LADIES' NIGHT OUT, was released in January 2007 and chosen as a Black Expressions Book Club selection.

THESE ARE MY CONFESSIONS, an erotic anthology, was released in July 2007 and completed her first book deal with HarperCollins/AvonRed. Following previous trends, it too was chosen as a Black Expressions Book Club selection.

Electa has been a frequent guest on radio shows. She has been interviewed by newspapers, AOL's Black Voices, Vibe Vixen, Upscale Magazine, Rolling Out and Booking Matters, to name just a few. Parks lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two children. With a BA degree in marketing and a minor in sociology, she is following her true passion and working on her next novel.

To find out when and where Electa will be in your area, check out her website at,, and\thesearemyconfesssions2007.

To share your thoughts with Electa regarding her work or to schedule a book club appearance, please e-mail her at:

Wow! There is a lot of information that has been shared today that is priceless. I wish I had this info when I was first starting out.

Anonymous said...

Question for everyone on the panel: What has been the most challenging aspect in promoting your books?

Electa Rome Parks'answer:

1. Promoting on a limited budget
2. Getting more bang for the buck
3. Making my book(s)stand out in a saturated market
4. Being consistent and continuous in promoting

Final Draft said...

This was soooo informative! I just want to tell each and everyone of you how much I truly appreciate all that you have shared!

It was truly a pleasure!!! Thanks for your time.

Final Draft

RhondaN said...

Sorry to be so late. I've been sick since yesterday. If one of the panelist happens to see this, I just want to say thank you for all this incredible information. You have been such a blessing.

Karen Duvall said...

I have a question about contests. I'm struggling with trying to understand the value of giving away new releases as a contest prize. We want readers to buy our books, right? And what do contests do? I guess I simply don't understand the purpose, though I have sponsored a few contests at the encouragement of other authors. I didn't see any benefit, though. I'm happy to give stuff away, but it would be helpful to know why I'm doing it. Sorry if I sound dumb, but this concept hasn't clicked for me yet. Thanks!


Shelia said...

Karen, having a contest is just another way to woo the reader into looking at your book information for more than a split second. It's like a courtship. Some contests are worth doing...but its a hit or miss. If you can get that persons attention enough that they want to enter the contest for a free book...chances are even if they don't win; they may get your book anyway (well that's the plan anyway).

However, if you have more than one book; offer one of your older books as a contest prize instead.

Don't know if that really answered your question; but that's my reasoning. :)

Anonymous said...

Comments from Electa Rome Parks:


Shelia is exactly right. Contests can be hit or miss. However, it is an excellent opportunity to get your title(s) and name in front of potential readers.

Just the simple act of a potential reader checking out the contest details, engraves your title in their mind. And. . . the next time they are at a bookstore, they remember your title or cover design and decide to check you out. I've heard it takes 5 times for a potential reader to visually see or hear about a book before they make the actual purchase.

You may not see immediate short-term results, but the long-term benefits are there. Write the book giveaways off as goodwill and keep it moving.

Exposure is everything and contests are just another way to place your title/name in the forthfront. The contest winner may receive the free book, but later purchase your other titles.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

From Electa Rome Parks:


Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate! A lot of informative knowledge was shared today. Hopefully, many were helped.

Your support of the literary industry means so much. Keep doing what you are doing and most of all being passionate about it.

Love ya,

Electa Rome Parks

projectr.e.a.d. said...

Thank you Sister L for a great conference I spent the day supporting 1 of my authors - Dwayne Murray and the Queens Book Fair in Queens NY. So i am just now seeing your request to describe our survey - The State of African American Survey

The purpose of the survey is to show authors, publishers, bookstores and other readers exactly what the AA Reader wants to read and why.

Please pass this along to your friends and anyone you know who is a reader of AA Literature. We need 500 more persons to take the survey for the survey to be viewed as an accurate composite of African American Readers.

This is a beautiful statement from -

"I believe it is imperative that the world knows that African
Americans read and read a vast wealth of things. So take a couple of
minutes to answer the 7 quick questions. We (as African Americans)
vastly underrate our buying power. I believe it's about time that the
world recognizes. The link is below. So click over now and take the
survey. Thanks for taking ACTION!" - Deltareviewer

Again Thank you Sister L!!!!

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