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Look Out, Seattle, Simon Wood Is Coming to Town: An Interview

Publishing is changing fast, as any author who’s been in the business for a few years will tell you.

And if you’re in the western Washington area on August 9, prolific mystery and thriller author Simon Wood will tell you. The Mystery Writers of America, Northwest Chapter, is bringing Simon to Bellevue College on August 9 for an all-day event called:

The 21st Century Author: How to Connect With the Publishing Industry and Build an Audience

65300_163836936960674_3939236_nSimon knows his stuff: he’s sold more than 500,000 e-books since 2011, both through self publishing and traditional publishing. And more than that, he knows how to make it interesting. When I went poking around on his Facebook profile, I found a comment from an attendee at a workshop he did in California last year: “Simon’s Marketing workshop was filled with useful information on how to get your name and work out where people can see it…Most of all, it was fun. Techno stuff and social marketing can make my eyes glaze over pretty quickly, but Simon kept it interesting and easy to follow.”

He was gracious enough to chat with me via email about what to expect, and I love everything he has to say.


You open your description of your class with “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” So what’s the first impression you want people to have of Simon Wood?

That I’m a writer who has paid attention to his craft and the industry and built a career from it.


Why do authors and aspiring authors need to spend a day learning about Marketing and the Modern Author?

The goal of just having a book published isn’t enough. If someone wants to have a career in publishing, they need understand how to connect with the [changing] industry (publishers, editors and agents), as well as with readers, to build an audience. Authors are selling themselves, and you have to win over with both to succeed. My seminar is a guide to what it takes to succeed as a writer in the 21st century. I would consider it a finishing school for authors.


Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and whatever’s newer and cooler than those… If you could only invest your time and energy into one social media channel, what would it be?

Personally, I like Facebook. It’s a good outlet for establishing community around an author and his/her work. It’s a place where people can congregate, friendships can be developed and a faithful fan base can be built.


How do you balance your own responsibilities to marketing vs. writing?

The writing always comes first, but with every book I’m thinking about the strategies and promotional angles that I can use to reach my potential readership. So, when that book drops, I know exactly what tack to take so that I’m efficient with my promotion.

I like to look for talking points that give a little insight into the topics I highlight in fiction. It’s one way to highlight the book.So [for example] with my upcoming book, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, the story deals with violence towards women and survivor guilt. I do a lot of first hand research, so I’ve met with women’s self defense groups [and] the Veteran’s Administration to talk about and understand PTSD. The discussion with the VA made me confront my own PTSD. These are talking points that I can share online or have featured in magazines.


What was your single best author marketing effort?

It’s never one thing that’s successful. It’s usually a combination of things that includes advertising, endorsements from bloggers, competitions, magazine articles, etc. However, I think I had the best time when I auctioned off 10 Advanced Reading Copies of one of my upcoming books for a cancer research charity. I did it as a live event on Facebook, and the 10 highest bids got a signed ARC. People bid and when they fell out of the top ten, I gave them the chance to up their bid. I think I raised about $400.



So if you’re writing (in any genre) and are struggling to find readers or attract an agent, register now for Simon’s “finishing school.” Early registration discounts expire on July 26, so get on it.

(And if meeting a successful career author and learning his secrets isn’t enough, attendees at the event will also have the chance to pick up a copy of The Author’s Guide to Marketing at a special conference rate. Now how could you turn that down?)



PS. I love how Simon calls this his “finishing school” for writers, and the class is designed for pre-published and published authors alike. But if you’re reading this and thinking “I’m not even sure if I want to publish; I’m seriously not ready for this kind of marketing workshop,” I’ve got another option for you: my own Guide to Getting Published seminar is also happening on August 9 on the UW Seattle campus. This is a class for writers who are just starting to explore the business of books and want to know more about their publishing choices. You’ll find more details and registration on the Experimental College website

1 Comment
  1. How timely. Since I’m not likely to make it to Seattle, I guess I’ll just have to bite the bullet and buy the book.

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