Sunday, June 22, 2008

Promotional Interview with Billie Williams

Your Name: Billie A Williams

1. Where you are from and where are you now? I’ve lived most of my life on the Michigan- Wisconsin Border with a brief residency in Colorado – the Four Corners Area and I currently live in Northern Wisconsin near the Michigan border again.

2. How did you get started writing? I always loved to read, so I guess it followed naturally that somewhere along the line I’d write the book I couldn’t find, or just that I’d have enough experiences that I thought others might enjoy that something sparked me to write about them. Which is exactly what happened in 1995 when a new friend showed me the book she was writing while I was living out in Bayfield, Colorado it was my signal. It was, if she could I sure could, and why hadn’t I thought to do it sooner? As they say, the rest is history.

3. What do you do when you are not writing? I am an organic gardener in the summer, but I also do all manner of crafts, knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, rug hooking – and to relax I play the piano. I work part time again now so some days I’m at our local café doing dishes, or working in our small grocery store. Meeting people in these ways helps the loneliness and isolation a writer can succumb to in their writer’s cave just writing.

4. What would readers like to know about you? I love to hear from readers. I love to help aspiring writer’s get there wings. I have a bookclub where readers can get to read one chapter a week of a new novel in progress for free. I also have a free 5-week writer’s course both available from my website at I love what I do and I am open to an online chat, a guest appearance if you are near enough to my home – and any other venue where you would need an author, a writer, a reader to interact.

5. What inspired your first book? It was out in Bayfield Colorado where Death by Candlelight got its start. You might say this is a character driven book because it was a young girl I saw walking from what I guessed to be her apartment above a business place across an over grown field and railroad tracks to the buildings on the other block. I assumed she was going to the grocery store over there. She looked like a waif, a girl in trouble. I asked some ‘what if’ questions of her (in my mind but not in person to her), did a character sketch and began writing her story.

6. How many books have you written? At this time I have more than two dozen in print or as e-books. I have five more under contract to be released next year with half a dozen re-releases expected within the same time frame.

7. What are the titles of your books and what genres are they? Titles: Death by Candlelight, Candlelight and Shadows, Skull Music, The Pink Lady Slipper, Bed and Breakfast Murders, and Small Town Secrets are all Mystery Suspense. Watch For the Raven is a young adult historical adventure, Tung Umolomo, is an adventure/suspense. A Christmas Dream is a 3-Act play. A series of writing books Writing Wide, Exercises in Creative Writing; Characters in Search of an Author; Spice Up Your Writing! Write to Entice; {are currently published} Two Titles in the Works are Mystery, Muse and Manuscript, and Playing With Plays. Fire at Thunder Ridge currently out of print is being shopped around to be republished. I have several books out that the publishers have folded and these books are currently under contract with other publishers to be re-released next year. Those I won’t list here. Feather’s In The Wind, Meanderings Most Museful, are poetry books; Bed and Breakfast Murders Cook Book and Extras and The Golden Kettle Café Cookbook from Small Town Secrets are cookbooks that have recipes and more from the books they are attached to; Adrift is a book of essays, flash fiction and short stories; Magic Carpet Ride is a children’s book; and Wide Spaces is a booklet on writing. Irish Whiskey, Beyond the Shadows, Angeni, Great White Bull, Valentine Express are Romantic Suspense I’ve written under two pseudonyms, Cricket Sawyer and Logan Blue

8. How do you decide on that topic or genre? Actually, the ideas just find me. I could be reading a book, newspaper or magazine and an idea will jump out at me, or I could hear a name and I develop a character in my mind and the story begins. I think the genre decides itself too. I read a lot of mysteries so I suppose I am more apt to write them, but I also read tons of books on the craft of writing so I am drawn to writing them too. I love to try new things so I take courses online or by mail to increase my awareness of other genres I might want to try. I’m dipping my toe in the Romantic suspense genre now, I recently tried writing plays because it fascinated me and I had a book I thought would make a great movie – So I’ve tried my hand at adapting a friends novel to a 3-act play and I’ve begun adapting one of my novels to a screen play. I guess I’m a life time learner and I need to learn and try whatever I can.

9. How do you manage to keep yourself focused and on track? I have a writing schedule and I pretty much stick to it. I have recently decided to adopt a friend’s idea and curtail answering emails to certain days of the week as they can really eat into my writing time. I make a regular daily to do list – and try to write a new chapter a day on my works in progress. I also blog, write articles and work at promoting the books I already have out. So a schedule becomes more and more necessary if I intend to stay on top of things.

10. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing? A little of both. I need to make money in order to stay at home. But if I stay at home without being out in the workforce I’m afraid I’ll become narrow minded and run out of things to write about. So it’s sort of a catch twenty two. I can’t imagine not writing – I love it! But, I need to earn a living too.

11. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used? Marketing – hear a large primal scream here… not something I enjoy doing or am good at. I normally send out postcards to announce a new release, I seek reviews for all my books constantly, visit and join groups that are of similar interest, write reviews for others, write articles and post them where I can as well as on my blogs, Which brings me to blogs as a means of getting my name out there – advertising and promotion. I maintain more than one web site, I manage a writer/reader group called Word Mage and I send a business card, post card in mail leaving my home, or like this past month a calendar planner Every piece of snail mail that leaves my house – that could be bills (the reason I don’t pay some of them on line) letters, Christmas Cards, whatever I send out gets some promo type piece inserted in the envelop. I’ve recently started a book club as mentioned earlier to allow readers to read a chapter a week of my novel in progress, instituted a 5-week writing course both of these are free, and I have two pages of free stuff on my websites so that readers can just grab something that strikes their fancy. I have made video trailers of my books as well as those of other authors and author jewelry makers/artists.

12. What are some unique methods of marketing you have used? I guess the blog or viral tour is new to me, though not necessary unique at this time. I think the bookclub read-a-chapter-a-week is one though Douglas Clegg and Stephen King have done similar things. Video trailers while not new but are pretty unique ways to display your wares so to speak. Joining social groups, marketing groups, and mystery groups on the social networks is quickly gaining popularity places like MySpace, FaceBooks, etc. are good marketing tools. I look for ways to help others, this I think is by far the best return on investment I’ve ever had.

13. Do you sell through a website? If so, what’s the address? If not, why not? Some of my books I do – with my webstore at others like the books from my Wings Publisher it is not feasible though I could supply a link to purchase from my site. Trying to figure out the way to link and hope the page doesn’t change is a challenge I have not undertaken. I guess part of it is not knowing how and the other not having time to mess with it.

14. Where can people order your books? Most of my Mystery Suspense books are available from Wings ePress, Inc That is probably the best place to start or check out my website for a list with brief summary, prices and locations.

15. What format are your books – e-book, print, audio etc? All of the Wings books are available in e-book as PDF, Mobi, HTML and other formats as well as in print. The books from lulu are available in PDF download or print, Others are e-book only. So it really depends on the title the person is looking at. I do not have any audio books at this time.

16. Will you write more books? Absolutely! I cannot help but write more.

17. What do you have in the works now? The Capricorn Goat ~ ~ January Flannel – is the book I’m writing with the bookclub, but I also Tracker another mystery suspense is in the works, then there is a Marketing book, and the next books in the writing series Mystery, Muse and Manuscript, and Playing with Plays. I have been requested to write another adaptation of a novel My Dear Phebe for a friend into a 3-act play for Community Theater also.

18. What does the future hold for you and your books? I hope the New York Times Best Seller list {smile} — Or at least a chance to do some book signings and meet some reader/fans. I would like to increase the number and quality of the books I write. I would like to sell 100,000 copies of one of my books.

19. What was the most successful thing you did to promote your books? I’ve given talks at a couple libraries – one was very well received and I sold quite a few books there. I was a presenter at a writer’s workshop [Obadiah’s Christian Women Writers] which was very well received and I sold many books. I think so far the post card mailings have been the most effective return on investment. I have given away pens, calendar planners, and sold stuff at Café Press, these don’t seem to be as good a venue.

20. What was the least successful thing you did to promote your books? Hired a publicist and then a life coach – still paying those off and it didn’t result in one sale or one new publisher or agent or anything productive that I can put my finger on. A total waste of money that could be the persons I chose rather then saying a publicist or a coach don’t work, because I think they could be very effective if it’s a match.

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