Alison DeLuca is a marketing and social media mastermind, as well as a Steampunk Goddess. Below is our interview where we discuss what the genre of steampunk is to author press kits to blogging.
Wittle: For those who may not be familiar with the Steampunk genre, could you explain a bit about it and give a few examples of books from the genre?
DeLuca: Sure! Steampunk is science fiction that uses steam to power its technology. (As an example, my Crown Phoenix books have a quantum typewriter instead of HAL, the supercomputer.) The genre has been around since the days of Jules Verne, H.G. Well, Mary Shelley, and Robert Louis Stevenson. It languished for a while as writers explored modern tech and outer space, but it is back with a vengeance now, appearing in movies and even Lady Gaga videos.
Modern writers include Paul de Filippo, China Mieville, Cassandra Clare … the list keeps growing. There have been many exciting developments, such as other ‘punks. We now have cyber of course, as well as dieselpunk, sandalpunk – even reeferpunk, as crazy as that might seem.
Wittle: You have a wonderful press kit and it seems like a step many writers may forget to do. Would you be willing to share with us what writers should have in their press kit? And also explain the benefits of having one?
DeLuca: Why, thank you!
My press kit evolved over the space of a year. I realized that bloggers and publicists needed a simple, yet inclusive, kit that would include links, headshots, covers, etc. I made folders for each of those and included the items by book. As I publish more titles I will have to rethink it again – I think a press kit is a fluid that needs constant revising.
As a final step, I shrank my images with this wonderful free site: http://www.shrinkpictures.com/ and condensed my links at bit.ly to make them easier to handle.
Since I blog quite a bit, that gave me a lot of insight into the world of book reviewers. I developed a sense of what they need and designed my press kit accordingly. My new project is to put it all on the internet so reviewers can download everything from one web page.
Wittle: How important is social media to marketing a book?
DeLuca: Vitally important, if you are an Indie author. To get your book out there, you need to develop relationships with reviewers, other authors, illustrators, readers, and editors. Notice I said “develop relationships,” not spam! Kristen Lamb’s blog, http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com , has been a wonderful source of inspiration and wisdom for me as I’ve developed as an Indie author, and her advice is fantastic for any Indie author. Or, indeed, any author.
If Indies have the resources, I would definitely advise them to do several things:
a) Invest in a professional editor.
b) Invest in a professional format.
c) Hire a publicist for their release.
Wittle: How did you find an agent?
DeLuca: I’m going it alone at the moment. I’m part of an author’s collaborative; we all publish together in a nonprofit organization under one name, Myrddin Publishing. We plan to do several projects to raise funds for charity over the next few months.
Wittle: How important is it to blog?
DeLuca: Blogging is a lot of fun, and I think it accomplishes several things. The blog serves as a writer’s diary, giving daily practice in the craft of writing. It gets the author’s name out there. As well, it creates those vital connections that Indies must have.
Wittle: What do you blog about?
DeLuca: Oh, everything! I don’t want to blog about writing only, because, BORING. I like to chat about my life as a mom, about movies I enjoy, recipes I’ve tried, books that I’ve read and enjoyed. Online creativity fascinates me, and I love to feature people who have started internet businesses from scratch. I have featured photographers, painters, and jewelry designers. From time to time I include my cover reveals and book excerpts, but I prefer to have a chat with my “Fresh Pot of Tea,” as if I were sitting round the kitchen table with a group of old friends.
Wittle: What piece of advice do you wish someone would have given you when you started down the publishing world road?
DeLuca: TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. If something raises a red flag as you read it, stay far away. The Internet is forever, and one false move can create a firestorm that will dog your reputation for years. To that end, I always try to maintain a pleasant and professional attitude online. Writers deal with an industry that is going through constant upheavals and major changes, every single day. As Indies, we also maintain friendships with people we’ve never met face to face. To negotiate both, we need to be very canny about where we place our trust.
Alison DeLuca Bio:
Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books. She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey. Follow Alison at her blog: http://alisondeluca.blogspot.com/