Writers and Wannabees Interview with Kathleen Vrona and TK Read
By Nancy Craddock
I am so excited to share the following interview with one of my critique partner, T.K. Read, along with her sister Kathleen Vrona. These two savvy sisters have a brand new book out that needs to be on every writer’s Christmas List this year. First, I’d like to tell you more about T.K. and Kathleen.
TK Read works by day as a civil rights and personal injury attorney. You’ll find her sipping wine late at night and coffee early in the morning while working on one of her middle grade fantasies or YA thrillers. With three young adults of her own, two cats, one dog and a District Attorney for a husband, she finds inspiration for her novels from her family, and what she can’t learn from them, she gleans from shopping centers, the Travel Channel, and the Internet. You can read more about her at http://www.tkread.com/.
Kathleen Vrona’s career spans 25+ years as a marketing professional and entrepreneur. Kathleen has developed and marketed new products for both Fortune 500 companies and her own business ventures. She is currently developing creative marketing strategies for a Fortune 100 company while writing in her spare time.
NC: What inspired two sisters to write 100 Small Fires?
TK: As a writer and voracious eBook reader, I’ve watched the growth of the eBook market with great interest and have been tempted to dive-in. I’m cautious by nature though and wanted to learn as much as I could about the process of publishing and selling an eBook before I took the plunge. Naturally, I asked my sister to help with my research project. We found that there was not enough practical information available on which to base an informed decision about the benefits and pitfalls of publication and marketing, so we decided to turn our efforts into something tangible that could help other writers.
KV: When TK asked me to work on this project, I was truly inspired. There are some universal truths and marketing strategies that could and should be applied to any marketing project regardless of the product. I didn’t see any books on the market targeting authors/writers taking that approach. Writers have to learn some of the basics to market effectively. There is no getting around that in this industry today.
NC: What approach did you take and how did you research the information in this book?
KV: As I mentioned before, we wanted to take a different approach and cover ground that other books were not covering. So we started with the hottest business marketing trends like Content Marketing, Antic Advertising and Gamification and then researched these topics to find the latest strategies including how authors were leveraging these strategies today. Also, we looked for traditional book marketing gaps; for example, other books covering book marketing and promotion weren’t covering important strategies like audio books or translation and foreign distribution. So again, we researched the latest on these strategies to try and give them full coverage in the book.
NC: How was the co-author process?
TK: I’m very sure I would not have completed this book without my co-author. Our strengths complemented each other and over-all contributed to a better book. Additionally, there were so many tasks required to both finish the book, and prepare it for publication, that it really did take both of us to push it through to launch day.
KV: Ditto. TK and I have been partners on many projects. At one time she worked with me on a business I was running –she was legal counsel for my Internet company, WorldWide Access- and then I worked for her when she was running her business, GAMA. I trust her completely and that’s so important for any partnership.
NC: Of the 100 Fire Starters contained in 100 Small Fires, what’s your favorite one?
KV: By far my favorite is Fire Starter #12-Use content marketing to create lasting relationships. Content Marketing is the hottest marketing trend today and will be for some time to come. Writers are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this trend, not only to sell their own books, but if they are willing, to help others sell their products and services (for a fee) by helping them develop compelling and engaging content. It’s really never been a better time to be a writer/creative, you just need to know how Content Marketing works and how you can leverage it to be successful.
TK: I’d have to say the recommendation for adult romantic fiction writers to get sales smoking by sexifying a special edition of their book. In other words, after their first edition has hit the shelves, and just when sales have fallen, to bring out a “Special Edition” which takes the scenes where characters are having mature interactions to the next level, AKA Fifty Shades of Grey. I like this suggestion because it is has the potential to build a broader audience for the writer and maybe even result in fired up sales.
NC: I love that you’ve given ideas for authors on a low (or no) budget, those able to spend an average amount of money, and those with an unlimited budget; as well as, a calendar showing when an author should accomplish certain marketing strategies. How does 100 Small Fires fall into the amount of money you’ve spent and the general timeline? Is there anything you’d do differently?
TK: When we were at the research phase of the book, Kathleen and I agreed to publish this book using the Small Budget and to spend as little as reasonably feasible on the publication and marketing processes. We wanted to prove that you can be successful without spending an inordinate amount of money. While over-all I feel like we’ve done very well following the small budget, for our next book, I’d definitely pay someone to code it for Kindle. The coding process turned out to be much more complicated and frustrating than I imagined. Also, we would love to come back and answer this question again for this group a couple months from now. We still have a lot of marketing to do!
NC: Readers always love leaving with something they can take with them. Is there a piece of book marketing advice you can give us that didn’t make it into the book?
KV: Wow, great question. As I read back through the book, it struck me that we didn’t really call out what I would say is the obvious best approach to get started, especially for people with small budgets which is probably 90% of authors out there today. Here it is; start your book marketing by taking advantage of every FREE opportunity we cover in the book. They are easy to find because we highlight them with a bold FREE. In researching this book, that was the big aha moment for me. I couldn’t believe all the FREE opportunities out there for authors to take advantage of. I think if you started with those, and had a good marketing book at your side for guidance, you can be successful.
NC: I know many of our readers are going to want to buy a copy of 100 Small Fires, can we have information on where to find it?
TK and KV: Sure! Here it is: http://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Selling-Including-Time-Lines-ebook/dp/B00A9GHI6Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353800145&sr=8-1&keywords=100+small+fires+to+make+your+book+sales+blaze
NC: And now, one last question: I know both of you are extremely busy with your chosen careers which seem the perfect combination to co-author this book, but for the purpose of our interview, you are both writers. So, if you were not a WRITER, what would you WANNABE?
TK: I wannabe an artist/illustrator, like E.B. Lewis.
KV: Ok, you’re talking sky’s the limit right? I wannabe a singer/songwriter and sing in coffee houses. TK got the singing chops but I can play the guitar. Her daughter Camilla writes beautiful songs and sings as well. Perhaps our next project will be a song writing collaboration!
For more about the sisters and their book, check out www.100smallfires.com!