Author Laura Eckroat has three titles with Tate Publishing, and you can find her books here. I recently asked Laura some questions about her success in growing visibility over the years...
Congratulations on the success, Laura. It seems like almost every day I am hearing from you about another successful event you’ve just had or another one scheduled. What is the best promotional strategy you have pursued as an author?
I have found that people really enjoy meeting the characters in my books -- When I have brought Ashley (AJ in A Simpler Time) and Muffin (from my latest book Went Out To Get a Donut...), people connect with them and want to take pictures with them. They tell me that when they read the story to the child that the book is for, they love showing the pictures of who the book is about.
What has been the least effective strategy?
Sitting at home and not being at an event! I believe that getting in front of as many people as you can is very effective.
How has niche marketing been a part of your plan?
Niche marketing has been a huge part of my plan. Each of my books is uniquely different, but also very much intertwined. The underlying theme of my first two books is science and nature. I am able to do presentations, workshops, school visits, and other programs teaching kids about nature and creative writing. But I also have found distinctly different programs for each book, too -- like grief groups, mother/daughter events, and now pet spas and bakeries! I have learned something at each and every event and believe it is all part of the big plan and enjoy each and every one! If people like one of your books, they will most likely enjoy one of the other ones or they may suggest one of your other titles to someone else.
How is the book industry different than you imagined before becoming a professional author?
I wasn't sure what to expect, but I guess it actually is more fun than I thought! I am glad that I have been able to experience so many venues and met so many different people -- from being the Grand Marshall in my hometown's Easter parade & winning the North Texas Book Festival for The Life of Bud in 2010, to meeting James Warhola (Andy Warhol's brother) at the Baltimore Book Festival (and him liking my book!); to having Ted Kerasote endorse my 2nd book and keeping in contact with me and him inviting me to meet him at his book event in Austin and us exchanging books!; to now being chosen to have my 3rd book featured in Fort Worth Texas Magazine in the June edition. Each event and venue and contact have built on each other, and I feel I've actually gotten fairly far in a short amount of time. I can't even imagine where I will end up in a few more years!
What is the one bit of advice you would give to new authors getting started?
You need to try and experience as many different venues and events as possible and be open to traveling. Don't get discouraged when you are at an event and may sell only 1 book; think of it as touching one person at a time. I love seeing children's faces light up when I read my books to them or when their parents tell them that I'm the author and am signing the book for them -- that is PRICELESS and reminds me of why I write. So think about why you write...and remember that reason, when and if you get discouraged. And my final word of advice -- ENJOY THE JOURNEY!