Thursday, February 28, 2013

March PSM: Meet Jessica Schein

Mark those calendars for the March Professional Series Meeting, Thursday March 14! It's going to be a doozy!

"Book Marketing 101," with the multi-talented former Scholastic Associate Director of Marketing Jessica Schein, will include an overview of ways to successfully market one’s book without spending a lot of money. This includes using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media outlets to promote oneself and build community. It will also cover why it’s important to build one’s personal community. Today’s marketing is not necessarily book-specific, it is person-specific. There will be handout detailing what authors can do online and in-person as well as a timeline. Follow Jessica on Twitter to keep up to date on her writing, and check out her Tumblr site to stay current with all her book-related projects.

Jessica Schein


1) What's the biggest way in which marketing books has changed since you were at Scholastic? 

I actually think it's less of a question of how marketing has changed in the last 3+ years but how the industry itself has changed. Borders, a major retailer is gone; social media lifted the wall between reader and writer; and Amazon is now not only a publisher in its own right but has been at the forefront of self-publishing explosion. When I left Scholastic I knew of only a few self published success stories--Christopher Paolini being the first one that comes to mind--but now hardly a few weeks or a month goes by when I don't hear about someone who wrote a book, put it up on Amazon/ iBookstore and is now pulling in thousands of dollars a month. This changing business model means books that would have died in someone's drawer are now being read by hundreds or thousands of people--and that's a wonderful thing. But this also makes it harder for new authors, especially, to find their audience.

2) What form of promoting one's own work is now considered obsolete?  

Print ads--and to some extent online banner ads. They're costly and hard to measure the impact of. We're also constantly bombarded with ads that unless they're very targeted, or clever, or both, they're generally ineffective. Today it's all about social media impact and integrated marketing/branding--what I think of as "suggestive" and not overt marketing.

3) What is a newly published author's greatest challenge when it comes to marketing their work?  

Getting themselves seen and heard. As I mentioned earlier there are so many people self-publishing now, making the market a crowded one. It's important for authors, both newbies and veterans, to think of marketing as a long term investment. Getting one's name out there shouldn't start when his/her book is about to or has just come out. It's never too early to build relationships with others in the publishing/reading community. It's these relationships that can make or break a writer's career.

4) What are you working on right now?  

I'm revising a YA dual-perspective novel with my writing partner, Kristiana Gregory, and my agent, whose comments have been invaluable. It's about two girls who live in the same Brooklyn house 200 years apart and the secrets they discover about their shared family. I'm also working on a series of e-novellas for more mature teens about a girl who goes missing after a night of partying in NYC.

5) What is your favorite a) thing to cook, b) recent novel read, and c) place to hang out and write in Seattle?  

My favorite thing to cook salmon (the fish in the PNW is so good), but I'm also obsessed with the Smitten Kitchen blog and I've tried a bunch of her recipes (all of which are pretty easy and amazing). The last novel I finished is Where'd You Go, Bernadette. It was hysterical and captured the Seattle vibe so, so well. And as for where I write--I tend to work at Porchlight or Tougo in Capitol Hill/the CD (where I live)--or my dining room table. I recently moved into a larger apartment and the fact that I have a dining room is the best thing that's happened to me in a long while. A dining room was so off the table (pun intended) in NYC, given the cost of an apartment larger than 300 square feet.

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