3 S.R. Johannes: Marvelous Marketer: Andrew Karre (Editorial Director, Carolrhoda Books)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Marvelous Marketer: Andrew Karre (Editorial Director, Carolrhoda Books)

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Marvelous Marketer: Andrew Karre (Editorial Director, Carolrhoda Books)

Hi Andrew. Thank you so much for joining us today. Before we get into marketing, tell me a little about yourself.

I’m the editorial director at Carolrhoda, Lerner Publishing Group’s trade children’s book imprint where we publish picture books, Middle Grade and YA. I was previously the editor at Flux, Llewellyn Worldwide's young adult imprint.

Do you/your agency/your house have a website/blog? When did you start it and who manages it?

I started blogging at Carolrhoda.blogspot.com when I started here in October. I provide most of the content.

In your opinion , what are the top 3 things every author should and must do to promote their book?

a) Be honest with yourself about what you’re good at and focus on that.
b) Do whatever you can to make your local bookstore, library, and school communities aware of your book shortly before it comes out.
c) Make sure you’ve done the basics online well and thoroughly but that you’ve spent no more than a hundred bucks or so, if anything. By basics, I mean: you’ve a simple web site at yourname.com (could be just redirecting to your Blogger or Wordpress blog); you’re networking and commenting on well-trafficked blogs at least as much as you are posting to your own; and you’re reading critically everything you can about what’s going on in your genre or niche.

In your opinion, how important is social networking like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, GoodReads etc.

They’re very important if you can use them well and if they don’t distract you too much. I am not a fan of MySpace. I don’t think debut authors need to do anything beyond pulling their profile names for later use. Facebook is better, though mostly for networking with gatekeeping adults at first. I find Twitter a useful way to follow news, even though I don’t tweet much. I don’t yet have an opinion on Goodreads.

How important is technology to an author’s marketing plan?

It’s as important as it needs to be. You don’t sell more books because you used the most tech. You might sell more books because you used the right tech for your book effectively.

Technology is an amplifier for your book, but not every technology is a good fit for every book. A flashy, expensive web site can be a very loud amplifier, but if you’re trying to promote your literary YA debut, I don’t think anyone will be listening. On the other hand a free blog as starting point for a disciplined program of pithy commenting on well-trafficked librarian and reviewer blogs can get you out loud and clear to the right people for almost no money.

Bear in mind that almost no one has anything beyond anecdotal evidence of efficacy for any of these strategies.

What other advice do you have for authors/writers regarding marketing?

Don’t waste your time on a generic marketing plan. If you can’t come up with a marketing plan that doesn’t include the words “Oprah” and “book tour,” then you don’t have a marketing plan—and that’s fine. Spend your time getting to know the online community for your genre. I’m vastly more impressed when I recognize a writer as commenter on a favorite blog than I am by a generic marketing plan.

When evaluating whether to take on an author or book, do you ever Google them to see if they already have a web presence or platform?

Yes, always. I’d rather see an active blog than a flashy website any day.

What things do Publishers offer in contracts in terms of Marketing? What does the average author receive or is it different, depending on the book?

In my experience, almost nothing in the contract. It varies hugely, book to book. Keep in my mind, my experience is all with small to midsize indie publishers.

What things do you expect an author to do on their own?

I expect authors to make a sincere effort to make the most of their promotional opportunities. I do not expect authors to spend their advances on freelance publicists or to go into debt. I expect them to be good partners and to tell us honestly what they think they can do (And be willing to stretch that a little).

Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your marketing strategies as an editor!


Corey Schwartz said...

Great interview! I will definitely need a marketing plan if I can sell my new pigs story!

Jean Reidy said...

I appreciate Andrew's advice for inexpensive marketing especially. A growing web presence is likely a comfortable fit for most author personalities.

Unknown said...

Wow...he always checked out authors on Google? That makes me feel good--it makes me think my blog is worthwhile!

Kimbra Kasch said...

Great info. Thanks for a informative interview.

Suzanne Young said...

Andrew is a great editor!! And his words are brilliant, as always!

Thanks for this, Shelli!

Carrie Harris said...

I think blogs sometimes get a bad rap because of people who don't know how to use them appropriately. Recently, there was an article that mentioned that in Poets and Writers. So it was very nice (and a bit of a relief) to read this interview!

Corey Schwartz said...

I didn't spend my advance on a publicist. But I did spend it on promotional things... a web site, magnet business cards, etc. Copies of my book to donate to schools, etc.

Anonymous said...

I wondered where Andrew Karre had gone after leaving Flux. So glad to know he's at a good press. Vicky shecter

Anonymous said...

That's interesting that he says he doesn't want any author to go into debt promoting their book. Never even occurred to me that could happen! Acckkk!

Linda Joy Singleton said...

I miss you, Andrew!! Great advice as always. Hope you're enjoying your new job. Wish I could match a book with you again since you were such a great editor to work with.

Did you see that our book DEAD GIRL WALKING won a YALSA Popular Paperback honor?? Thank you for making my DEAD GIRL trilogy happen.

Linda Joy Singleton

Katie Anderson said...

I am giggling while imagining people writing you a long comment but then chopping it up into like five pieces and posting them separately. hee hee

Oops! Maybe I just gave someone an idea.


I thought that was interesting that Andrew likes an active blog rather than a flashy website. I do too!

Great interview!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Thanks for a good interview, Shelli. I love hearing from editors and I really love hearing that some of them appreciate blogs.

Casey Something said...

This was a particularly great interview!

I've noticed several of the Marvelous Marketers do the Google search. It makes me feel like my efforts to keep my blog active and growing are worth it!

Robyn Campbell said...

What a great interview! I do wish he could have given folks like me information on building up my blog traffic. I'm visiting lots of blogs hoping that will help but I'm not really sure what else to do. But I agree with him about Myspace and Twitter. I am on Jacketflap and Goodreads. Thanks so much, Robyn

Unknown said...

This is a great interview Shelli!

I am getting my writing act together. Cleaning off my desk, making space, making lists to do and people to contact.

I am going to find Kathleen Duey's website today and thank her for her time and talks. She is so real, ya know.

Just got off the phone with you. Thanks for your time and talks too!


anna j said...

I too am laughing at the previous commentor's "suggestion" about creative comment-splicing . . . I promise I won't do it :-)
I am grateful for good suggestions, however, from a successful editor. Some day, perhaps, I shall have my very own ;-)

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

thank you guys for posting. The contest is exciting and I am alreday meeting some new bloggie friends :)

Kelly H-Y said...

Great interview ... so interesting and wonderful to hear that, when they're interested in a writer, they check out their blog or website!

Unknown said...

I am going to find some of my writer friends her in Macon to check out your blog.

Going to dig into the "archives" and check out some old posts. So many editor's interviews to read!

Corey Schwartz said...

I was so excited that my blog traffic increased dramatically this week, but then I realized that its because people are Googling Thing 1 and Thing 2 for Dr. Seuss's birthday!

Doraine said...

I really tend to be a lurker. I read a lot of blogs, but seldom comment. It's that introvert persona. It was very interesting to see that Andrew Karre felt that commenting on well-trafficked blogs was as important as posting to your own. Okay, I'm learning.

Sarah Campbell said...

I love that you call them shout outs.

Kimbra Kasch said...

Just wondering if all the traffic to your blog caused it to crash...


Mary Uhles said...

looks like a great interview, i skimmed down through while hollering at my oldest to get dressed for school already. intersting how he checks the internet to see what presence you already have. will have to read it more closely at naptime today;)

Elizabeth O Dulemba said...

Yup - great interview Shelli! I also appreciated his comments about not going into debt over your marketing plan. Good advice!
Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Vivian Mahoney said...

Great interview!

falling in love with jack lalanne said...

so great to hear from andrew! i'd love a short follow-up with a list of the heavily trafficked librarian and reviewer sites that andrew loves and follows!

Susan Fine

Unknown said...

Check out Kathleen Duey's website. It's great. She might be a good one to interview (for those who did not hear her at the conference).

Thanks for your advice today!

Betsy :)

Anonymous said...

So, are you going to interview Kathleen Duey on your blog? She is a fascinating person.

Unknown said...

Yes- Shelli- you should interview her. She loves to talk!

Anonymous said...

Andrew is brilliant about what authors need to do to blog and about what editors need to do to keep their authors happy.

I am so glad you interviewed him about this specifically. It's a great change of pace from the normal editor interview and it's so incredibly intelligent.

Can you tell I'm an Andrew fan?

I am totally an Andrew fan.

Thanks for doing this.


Anonymous said...

Ok, I know he's not working there anymore, but can I just say how much I love Flux??

Anonymous said...

Andrew says: "I’m vastly more impressed when I recognize a writer as commenter on a favorite blog than I am by a generic marketing plan." I have to say your blog is starting to work on me because I actually commented on an archaeologist's blog that I really admire. I even friended her on Facebook and she accepted. Small steps but still...a step.