Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer, her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.
Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married.
Thank you for this interview, Cheryl. Can we start out by having you tell us briefly what your new book is about?
Thanks for having me here today. Little Shepherd is the story of Obed, a young shepherd in the fields outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. While he wants to join the others to see the newborn King, he’s anxious about leaving his first flock unattended. After some wise words from his father, Obed decides to step out in faith and go to Bethlehem. An encounter with the Holy Family and what he sees upon his return to the fields leads Obed to decide it is a night of miracles.
More and more authors are realizing the potential for sales that derives from virtual book tours. Can you tell us your personal reasons why you chose a virtual book tour to help get the word out about your new book?
I’ve been in the business of coordinating virtual book tours for three years. I knew when my book came out that I would tour with it. I’ve concentrated mostly on online book promotion because I can reach more readers that way. I am however, combining that with a few local events.
Is this the first time you have heard of them?
You and I both know the answer to this one. I started hosting clients for Pump Up Your Book (formerly Pump Up Your Book Promotion) in April 2007. A few months later, I joined their staff and I haven’t looked back.
What do you hope to achieve through promoting your book through a virtual book tour?
Working online has given me the chance to network with people in ways my parents never dreamed of being able to connect with others. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks have changed the way we do a lot of things. I can keep in touch with my brother who is in Afghanistan or my sister who lives in Pennsylvania. I can find out what my adult nieces and nephews are up to, even though some of them live hundreds of miles away. I can even check to see if my son is playing around on the Internet instead of working.
For me, a virtual book tour is all about exposure and networking. If I sell books as a result—which I have during this tour—then great. Sales are not my main goal, though, because no marketing tool can guarantee you’ll sell anything.
Who maintains your website?
I do, but only because I can’t afford to hire someone to do it. As a time management expert, I’m all for finding ways to streamline things. Your time is worth something too. I would rather write than update my website.
Right now http://ccmalandrinos.com doesn’t look the way I want it to, but I hope to be able to hire a designer after the first of the year to spiff it up.
What are your experiences with offline book signings? Do you have much luck selling your book through that method?
My first book signing isn’t until Saturday, November 27th at the Living Gate Community Church Annual Country Christmas Bazaar and Tag Sale. This event will be held on the church grounds at 151 Taylor Street, Granby, MA from 9 AM to 3 PM.
I’m also trying to plan one at a local bookstore. We’ll see what happens.
Here’s a fun question. If money were no object, how would you promote your book?
If money were no object, I would donate 5 copies of Little Shepherd to all the Christian churches in my area. It’s not so much about selling the book, as it is getting it into the hands of young people.
Thank you for this interview, Cheryl. Do you have any final words?
I firmly believe in the power of virtual book tours. Having coordinated tours for nearly 100 authors, spanning over 125 books, I’ve seen how much fun they are and how they can provide exposure for authors. I recently wrote an article titled, “Why Virtual Book Tours Work”. This provides some concrete examples of what a virtual book tour can do for you. You can find the article at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/2010/10/why-virtual-book-tours-work.html
Thanks for letting me talk about one of my favorite subjects.