James Diehl is an award-winning journalist who has covered Sussex County, Delaware for various media outlets since 1998. Since 2007, he has owned and operated a freelance writing company based in Seaford, Delaware and is also a partner in a Lewes, Delaware-based public relations and marketing firm. He is the author of one other work of non-fiction – Remembering Sussex County, from Zwaanendael to King Chicken, published in 2009 by The History Press.
James Diehl will be on a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours in November and December and is here with us today to give his impression of virtual book tours and online book marketing.
Thank you for this interview, James. Can we start out by having you tell us briefly what your new book is about?
James: Certainly. World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware is a book profiling 50 brave Americans who fought for our great country during World War II. These are men, as well as a couple of women, who today call southern Delaware home, but it is certainly not about the nation’s first state. These are stories from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, very personal and emotional stories from the grandest war the world has ever seen. They are all heroes, and I hope I have done their stories justice during this two-year project.
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?
James: I am a partner in a marketing company in coastal Delaware and have been using traditional marketing methods for some time. But I came across a couple of articles recently about virtual book tours and I immediately recognized the potential for reaching out to a greater number of interested readers through this method. I am very interested in the educational value my book holds; I want as many people as possible to read about what these brave souls went through in defense of our country so many years ago. To that end, I’m hopeful a virtual book tour will allow me to expose my project to many more people than I would have been able to otherwise.
Is this the first time you have heard of them?
James: Yes, I would have to say that it is. I’ve been involved with blogging and with chat rooms before, but this is the first time I’ve actually used any online methods for marketing purposes.
What do you hope to achieve through promoting your book through a virtual book tour?
James: I hope to get the word out to as many people as possible, many of whom would not know about my project otherwise. Heroes has become a very important, personal and emotional project for me. I want to introduce it to as many people as possible, and I think a virtual book tour is a good way to go about doing that.
Do you promote online through other means? Website? Blog?
James: I do have a Web site – www.ww2-heroes.com – and I will be sending out press releases periodically, including to many locations on the web. And I’m doing this virtual book tour, of course.
Do you promote through Twitter and Facebook? What are your links there?
What are your experiences with offline booksignings? Which do you prefer – online or offline and can you give us the reasons why?
James: I did very well with book signings in my area with my first book, Remembering Sussex County: from Zwaanendael to King Chicken. I did much better by making appearances at local festivals and events than at events hosted by book stores, however. I’m a very personable person and I am fairly well known in my area, so book signings did very well for me over the spring, summer and early fall. That being said, with Heroes, I will be depending more on online sales simply because the book has a greater appeal outside of southern Delaware, at least I hope that’s the case.
Here’s a fun question. If money was no object, how would you promote your book?
James: I would spend whatever was necessary to book just a couple of minutes on the Oprah Winfrey show and ask her in my most persuasive voice and with my biggest puppy dog eyes to please recommend my book to her book club members. If there’s a better marketing method than that, I’m not sure what it is.
Thank you for this interview, James. Do you have any final words?
James: I would like to ask everyone a small favor, if I may. I’ve had my eyes opened so much through this two-year book project; it’s amazing how talking to so many people who went through so much can affect you. The next time life gets you down, think about what members of our armed forces went through, and still go through, so we may live as we do today in the greatest country in the world. Our problems are trivial compared to what these brave men and women endure. It’s made me appreciate life a lot more, I’ll tell you that. Thank you for allowing me this time here. God bless!
Visit James Diehl’s official tour page here.