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Marketing Tips and Advice from Sarah McCoy

Posted by Cynthia on December 8, 2015
Sarah McCoy is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Baker’s Daughter, which was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee; The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico; and “The Branch of Hazel," a novella in the anthology Grand Central. Her most recent novel, The Mapmaker’s Children, was published in May 2015.

As a writer whose work is internationally known, what’s your approach to responding to reader questions on Ask the Author?
I’m an author who welcomes all social media that connects me with readers. Goodreads is my virtual carnival. The beauty of it is that it goes wherever I go: from my laptop at home to my smartphone at the top of the Empire State Building. We live in an era of great technology that can be a source of incredible knowledge and community when put to good use. For readers, authors, book clubs, libraries, and book lovers who dwell in the quiet worlds of words, it’s our literary watering hole.

I approach Goodreads’ Ask the Author questions as if I’m sitting in my favorite café, having a good, strong cup of Irish Breakfast, and oh, hello, a reader pops in. “Hi, Ms. McCoy, I have a question about one of your books,” she says, and I invite her to sit down for a chat and sip.

For my recent release, The Mapmaker’s Children, I was selected as a Featured Ask the Author. This was my first experience, and it’s been a marvelous, ongoing conversation. Every day another reader friend walks into the chat room with an intriguing question. It’s an old-school gathering place in a new, online form, and I respect it as such.

What’s your favorite thing about Goodreads?
Meeting readers and book clubs! I’m amazed at how many people I’ve met through Goodreads who have then connected on Facebook and Twitter and come out to meet me in person at bookstore events. Such loving champions of my books. It humbles me beyond words. I try to "like" every complimentary review to show my appreciation and acknowledge that the reader took the time to support my work. It means so much to me.

Sure, it stings to receive anything less than a 5-star rating. We authors write to entertain and please readers. So our minds whirl on where we dropped star balls, where we let them down, where to improve the next time, etc. But that’s another great thing about Goodreads: It’s a totally objective platform for everyone to have a subjective opinion. Every reader is given a megaphone to say whatever he or she wishes. It’s a forum that truly embodies the credos of our American forefathers. The First Amendment is alive and well on Goodreads! I count myself incredibly blessed that the feedback on my books has been composed of loving, respectful, and insightful reviews.

How do you encourage reviews of your book on Goodreads?
To be honest, I don’t really do much to encourage reviews. I simply try to stay present in the Goodreads "café" so readers know where to find me. I also make sure that Goodreads is integrated into all my social media platforms. Readers can link to it from my website, and I often tweet and post Goodreads information on Facebook.

Being a southern woman, I grew up with the mantra: If you’ve got something nice to say, shout it from the rooftops! I pray Goodreaders follow a similar philosophy.

The Mapmaker’s Children
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The Baker’s Daughter
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The Time it Snowed in Puerto Rico
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Grand Central
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What’s one exciting, possibly hidden feature you’ve discovered on Goodreads?
Ask the Author! What a stupendous opportunity for readers and book clubs to submit their questions and get answers directly from us in a setting that is safe, user-friendly, and open to everyone. This helps foster a more personal, author-reader relationship than we might experience in the broader online community. I’ve also discovered that many book clubs with national and international members are now using Goodreads Groups as their meeting place to discuss monthly books, sign up for giveaways, and chat with featured authors invited to their private conversation rooms. It’s a tremendous honor to receive unexpected invitations to visit these groups. Anyone can create a Goodreads Group. So they can range from a handful of members to thousands. I’ve been blown away by Goodreads' far-reaching capacity and am daily grateful to have such perceptive readers welcome me to their book sanctums.

What are you working on right now?
I’m continuing to book tour for The Mapmaker’s Children this summer: online blog visits, Goodreads group chats, feature essays, bookstore events, library summer author series, and SKYPES book clubs. I’ll be heading out to literary festivals across the country in the fall.

When I’m not traveling, I’m hunkering down in my writing office, working on my next novel. I don’t typically breathe a word about the subject matter of my book babies until they are ready to be hatched. What I can share is that it’s another contemporary-historical dual narrative. But the location is quite different from anywhere I’ve ever gone before. To quote my husband, “The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico was 1960s Puerto Rico. The Baker’s Daughter, WWII Germany. The Mapmaker’s Children, Civil War Virginia. And now this? After 17 years together, you’d think I’d know you.”

Don’t blame me; I’m just the writer. I go where the characters direct me, and this next journey has me exploring the most exotic, ancient territories yet. I hope to be able to say more soon… you'd better believe Goodreads will be one of the first places I share!

This interview originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of the Goodreads Author Newsletter.

Next: Marketing Tips and Advice from Susan Mallery

You might also like: Marketing Tips and Advice from Debut Author Scott Hawkins

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Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Treasa (new)

Treasa Clain Teresa Clyne Query on literary festivals, can you tell me do you arrange those yourself or get publishers to arrange them?


message 2: by David (new)

David Driscoll The difference between the authors is very interesting. Approaching sales and fans for want of a better word is good to see. But not one author has ever mentioned how lucky there are to be educated in a type of way. It's like a maverick approach we tell everybody what we do for others which makes us interesting and kind but we never thank parents for our education or upbringing and or other sources. My point we work hard to produce literature in diverse ways but advertise a kind image. For me publishing work has not been easy, funds, publishers, editors and general negative knock backs add to the fun and down side to writing. Not all see from your eyes or thoughts. So remember when you sit by yourself thank your lucky stars, who ever they may be.

message 3: by Maria (new)

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