Writing Character Interviews for Promotions

 

image by Tumisu

My guest today is Zoe M. McCarthy (okay, me). Zoe discusses character interviews. Then she interviews the hero and heroine from her book, The Putting Green Whisperer, releasing September 14, 2018. She’s pleased to share that her publisher has a one-time-only 99¢ pre-order special for the Kindle version. The special disappears on the release date.  See the blurb and pre-order links for The Putting Green Whisperer below.

 

Character Interviews

Character interviews can help authors obtain a deeper understanding of their characters. They can also be used in book promotions to tantalize readers to purchase their books.

Are the questions asked for character development different than those for promotion?  Some are. For example, authors need to know their characters’ secrets, but giving away their secrets for promotional purposes would be story spoilers for the reader.

Other questions may or may not be good for promotions, depending on when the reader will know the answers in the book. For example, their past wounds may be revealed early in the story and asking about their wounds in an interview might work. If they only hint at past wounds in the beginning to create suspense, asking them in an interview to reveal their wounds would create spoilers.

Two Tips

  • The character interview questions and answers for promotions should cause readers to have questions they want to know the answers to.
  • The characters’ interview answers should reveal their character.

The Putting Green Whisperer Character Interviews

image by mohamed_hassan

Shoo Leonard

1. What do you want to accomplish physically, Shoo?

I want to leave caddying and make it into the PGA, where I hope to be a good example for youth. But before this can happen, I have a couple of challenges to overcome.

2. What are your thoughts about your fellow caddy Allie Masterson?

At first, I thought Allie needed a friend and I was supposed to minister to her. That didn’t go well. Then she revealed one thing that shamed me and other things that helped me understand her. Although she can be intense and prejudges at times, she believes in my dream and works tirelessly to help me. Allie’s my best friend.

image by mohamed_hassan

Allie Masterson

1. What do you want physically, Allie?

I’m glad Dad asked me to caddy for him on the PGA Seniors Tour, but when that ends, I want to teach kids in a good golf program. Some problems have come up, and I might have to research youth golf programs sooner than I thought.

2. What are your thoughts about your fellow caddy Shoo Leonard?

Man, I was afraid you’d ask me that. The great thing about Shoo is he has this unbelievable gift to read the greens. Guys who listen to his directions sink their putts. I misjudged Shoo at first because of our past history when we were kids, but now I’ll do anything to help him make it into the PGA. We’re fist-bumping buddies. And that’s a huge problem.

Interviewing your characters in promotional media. Click to tweet.

What are some good questions you’ve used in interviewing your characters for promotional purposes?

Pre-order Link  $0.99 during pre-order period only.

Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer…and then she falls for him.

 Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-bumping buddy…but then he falls for her.

What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

How Do Readers Find Books They Want to Read? – Survey Results

 

image by Conmongt

Authors, where will you spend your time and resources to reach readers?

The chart below shows the results from my survey, How Do Readers Find Books They Want to Read? The analysis below gives you methods represented by the bars and the percent of forty-three participants who chose the methods.

I don’t claim the results to be statistically sound but the patterns are interesting. They may give authors some thoughts about where they want to put their time and money in promoting their books.

 

 

Analysis

 

1. What readers participating DON’T do.

         –  2. Attend book fairs (0%)

         – 11. Click on Facebook ads (0%)

         – 12. Click on Twitter ads (0%)

         – 13. Click on Goodreads ads (0%)

         – 25. Subscribe to blogs that review books (0%)

We know people do use these, but not these forty-three participants. My personal experience from an author’s perspective agrees with these results.

2. The two most popular methods readers use are the old staples.

         –  4. Act on word of mouth (56%)

         – 22. Look for books by their favorite authors (58%)

Probably, nobody is surprised. So, we authors probably should put more of our time and resources into becoming better writers and writing more great stories in well-edited books. Create the buzz.

3. Readers still like to peruse bookstores – brick and mortar and online.

         –  1. Peruse bookstores (26%)

 – 15. Peruse reviews & star ratings on online bookstore sites (Amazon,   CBD, B&N) (26%)

4. What some participants do may be the up and coming.

         – 8. Read mainly series and get the next book in the series (16%)

         – 9. Click on “Customers who bought this book, also bought …” (Amazon) (19%)

         – 18. Belong to book sites that report deals in your genre (BookBub, Libroso, Inspired Reads, BookGorilla) (19%)

Writing series and getting our books on sites where readers subscribe may be time well spent

5. The rest of the story.

         –  3. Find recommendations in newspapers or other publications (16%*)

         –  5. Investigate books announced through emails from authors about new books, or deals on old ones (9%)

         –  7. Investigate books mentioned in authors’ sidebars on their blogs or websites (9%)

         – 14. Look at reviews and recommendations on Goodreads (9%)

         – 24. Investigate books promoted on Facebook (9%)

         – 10. Click on “Sponsored products related to this item …” (Amazon ads) (5%)

         – 21. Look for books on certain publishers’ sites (5%)

         – 16. Attended Facebook parties to receive free giveaways (5%)

         –  6. Subscribe and use suggestions from authors’ newsletters (2%)

         – 17. Comment on blogs with giveaways to receive free books (2%)

         – 19. Belong to KindleUnlimited or a similar program (2%)

         – 20. Go to Online Libraries (2%)

         – 23. Investigate books promoted on Twitter (2%)

         – 26. Belong to a site where I choose free books to review (Authors Cross-Promotion) (2%)

         – 27. Purchase box sets looking for new authors (2%)

*Some of these participants said they only read nonfiction.

Two results surprised me. I expected more participants to belong to KindleUnlimited and fewer to peruse bookstores.

Again, the survey only shows patterns among forty-three participants that I polled through blog comments, Facebook, Twitter, and emails.

Survey results: how readers find books they want to read.  Click to tweet.

What did or didn’t surprise you from the above patterns?

COOKING UP KISSES  – the $0.99 deal for all five books ends July 18.

Five scrumptious e-book romance novellas, all for $0.99 or free on KindleUnlimited. Here’s the link.  Here are the blurbs:

 

 

 

Book Covers: Help in Creating or Giving Input for the Design

 

image by uhexos

What Is the Book Cover

 

  • Images: the artwork or photos
  • Words: the fonts of titles and content
  • Content: title, taglines, back-cover description, and bio
  • Blurbs: endorsements

 

Good Book Covers

 

A good book covers will:

  • be more than a lovely cover; it will communicate.
  • capture the essence of the story.
  • be a reader’s first interaction with an author’s story and style.
  • shape the store browser’s opinion of the story.
  • market and advertise the book.
  • be displayed on bookmarks, posters, book blogs, and other media.
  • make its observer wonder.
  • be created for the same audience as the story was written for.
  • vie for browsers’ and book buyers’ attention.
  • beg those perusing to take a second glance.
  • compete for the attention of busy book reviewers.
  • image by Unsplash
    have a nice balance between the images and words and fonts.
  • remain within the norms of its genre, but be noticeable.
  • symbolize what will gradually be more obvious to the reader as he reads the story.
  • portray the tone and genre, as well as mood and theme.

 

Why a Book Cover Works

 

  • A well-designed cover tells the browser that the content has value to the customer.
  • For first-time authors, a great cover will make up for anonymity.
  • Interesting, intriguing covers shout interesting and intriguing story (and vice versa).

 

What Is Used in Creating a Book Cover

 

  • Depending on what’s available, some notes, a synopsis, the manuscript, and/or information about the author to understand his style.
  • Information about the period, season, and setting.
  • An idea of the story’s tone and mood.
  • Example book covers or photos.
  • Listed items important to the story, such as people or animals; be specific as to the type.
  • Physical descriptions of the hero and the heroine.

 

image by waldryano

How Authors Are Involved

 

Sometimes authors are:

  • not afforded input.
  • asked for limited input.
  • sent mock-ups and asked to choose one.
  • ignored as to their input and choices.
  • wise to let the professionals do their job.
  • resigned to love or hate their covers.

 

When You’re Asked for Input, Take Advantage

 

  • Spend time in a bookstore and
    • notice what covers have interested browsers,
    • study covers in your genre that target your audience, and
    • evaluate what makes books stand out.
  • image by Kevin-K-Model
    Suggest colors to be used. Red, yellow, and orange are considered high-arousal colors and make items appear closer. Blue, green, and purple are low-arousal colors and make things seem farther away.
  • If you have a series, ask that certain words, fonts, or images be replicated to identify the book as part of a series.
  • When choosing example photos, remember simplicity outranks complexity. Unnecessary items are distracting.

Help in the creation or input for your book cover’s design. Click to tweet.

What in a book cover grabs you when you’re browsing?