You're known as one of the most savvy authors in the business, does that trait come natural or did you have to work at it?
Gosh, thank you, Jeff. I'm not sure if I'd call myself savvy or just plain stubborn. I refuse to give up on something I love doing, which is writing. I believe it is every author's responsibility to do everything they can to ensure the success of their work, otherwise they'll only have regrets. I don't want to look back and think "Crap, I should've sent my books to Oprah." So I mailed them to her as each was published. She's never replied, but at least I did it. And I'm not giving up. One day I will catch her attention! :)
Much of my business sense comes from the different types of careers and jobs I've held over the years. My job background has been richly varied and gave me experience in advertising, marketing, copy writing, direct sales, telemarketing (don't hate me, people--it was a job), management, and motivational speaking. Even then, I had to learn how to be good at these things mostly on my own. I was the youngest salon owner back in the mid-80s and I had no one to teach me how to run it. I made it more successful than it had ever been, mostly because I was creative. I have been self-employed in various business ventures over the years, which is where I learned a lot about self-promotion.
I think I have a natural sense of creativity and a flare for the dramatic. I also have the ability to imagine very clearly how I would like something to work. Then I go after finding out how to make it happen. I've been practicing the "law of attraction" before I ever knew that's what it was called. There are so many tools available, especially online, that authors who want to learn how to market their books CAN. It does take work, lots of it. It's not always easy, but then again, nothing in life worth having ever comes easily. It takes dedication; you can't just try twice and then give up. If something doesn't work, find out why. Then do it again, only this time learn from mistakes and do it better. If I didn't truly believe all this and that I could learn how to market my books consistently better with each one, I wouldn't be an author who has published 4 novels and has a agent pitching the next one. When it comes to marketing, I am ALWAYS learning how to do more, and how to do better.
What have you found works in book promotion and what is a total waste of time?
There are many things that work and for me some of my favorites are: