Marketers with Verve: Leslie Whitaker, Party GirlJanet Fix
A year or so I stumbled upon this woman, LESLIE WHITAKER, through an author connection (Greg James of the UK–crazy great writer). Leslie was hosting a book-launch party on Facebook for Greg, and he invited me to join the party.
Which I did.
I was blown away by the engagement. I’d never really considered such a thing for my authors before. And it doesn’t fit everyone, but for those it does, it’s an uplifting experience. A lot of fun, engaging the author with fans, current and potential.
Next thing ya know, Leslie cannot peel me away. I go to every Facebook launch party I can. Just to see. Just to feel. To immerse myself in another author’s experience.
Leslie is the emcee who will take you there.
thewordverve: You are known by many indie authors, here in the US and across the ponds, as someone to go to for a Facebook launch party. How did this happen?
Leslie: Well, it is kind of a long story but . . . I joined Facebook. I realized that pretty much everyone had a Facebook page. At the time, I was hooked on books by H.P. Mallory. So, I friended her and started following her. Through her page, I met a number of authors as well as some book-reader friends. A couple of us wanted to do something to help our indie author friends, so we contacted the authors and asked if we could set up fan pages for them. They all agreed.
As something fun to keep the pages active, we would post questions and book-discussion things. One of our authors had a new book coming out, and we thought a fun way to celebrate that would be to have a party on the page and play games and have giveaways for fans. That went from doing parties on fan pages to setting up events and being able to include as many people as possible. One party led to another and another . . .
Gosh, isn’t that way things go? Positive vibes pushing forward. So, Leslie, what do you do to prepare for a launch?
If possible, I try to read the book first. If I can’t, then I ask the author to tell me about it and get some ideas of themes. I search the Internet for pictures for caption games and trivia and funny cartoons that relate to the book in some way. For instance, if an author has a vampire book, I try to find vampire-related trivia, games, funnies . . . things that will add to people having fun.
With all these ideas swirling in your head, do you have a book of your own in the works?
No, I am not an author. I have attempted to try it, as I have some ideas for stories, but realized quickly that I am no writer. I prefer to be a reader.
What are your favorite genres, even though, like me, there can be many ?
I like almost anything. Depends on my mood. I like horror, zom-poc, a-poc, thriller, mystery, paranormal, paranormal romance, humorous romance. . . . romance in general, as long as it’s not historical or too mushy gushy. And, by the way, fun fact: most of my horror-author friends are some of the nicest and funniest people you could meet!
That is a fun fact! LOL. What’s the key to your success as a party emcee?
I try to match the theme of my parties with the theme of the book. I try to make it fun for the participants and for the author. I usually do two hours. One is too short and three starts to get to long. I try to do some games that everyone can participate in. I do games that people who don’t know trivia answers or don’t feel comfortable with caption games can play as well. Share games, caption games, trivia game . . .
What makes a great launch party?
The author being very active and connecting with people and having a lot of active participants. I have a zom-poc author friend that when we do parties, they are so active and he posts a lot as well, I have to go back through after the party to catch up on posts!
That’s the ticket. Definitely. Leslie, being so involved with books and authors, what would your advice be to authors who really want to be active in marketing their books ? Where have you seen pitfalls? Or successes?
A couple things really. Do not collect friends on Facebook and immediately send them links to purchase your book. Big no-no. And it will get you unfriended and blocked quickly. Share your book, but don’t overshare it. If people see the post for a book everyday, they will ignore it. Get a small group of ARC readers that you can trust to read honestly and then do reviews the day the book is available for purchase. Be active with your followers. The more they like you, the more they will be willing to share your work. Do occasional giveaways. Bookmarks, key chains, eBook, anything. Keep people engaged on your page.
Isn’t she fabulous!? Highly recommend her services. You can reach out to Leslie via messenger on Facebook. Click HERE for her handle. Let us know whatcha think!