Claire Cook is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Must Love Dogs, which was adapted into a Warner Bros. movie starring Diane Lane and John Cusack, The Wildwater Walking Club, Life’s a Beach, and her latest, Seven Year Switch. Her reinvention workshops have been featured on The Today Show, and she has been a judge for the Thurber Humor Prize and the Family Circle fiction contest. Her books have been featured on Good Morning America and in People, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and more. She has two kids, seven brothers and sisters, and one husband. She lives in Scituate, MA.
Visit her website and find reinvention and writing tips at http://www.ClaireCook.com. Friend her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ClaireCookbooks/. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ClaireCookbooks/.
Thank you for this interview, Claire. Can we start out by having you tell us briefly what your new book is about?
Seven Year Switch is my seventh novel. It has received beach read shout outs from People, USA Today, The New York Times, and The New York Post. According to Kirkus, “a beach tote couldn’t ask for more.”
It’s the story of a single mother whose husband ran off to join the Peace Corps, leaving her with a three-year-old. Seven years later, just when they’ve figured out how to make it on their own, he’s ba-ack – proving he can’t even run away reliably! Now Jill has to face the fact that there’s simply no way she can be a good mom without letting her ex back into her daughter’s life. They say that every seven years you become a completely new person, and it takes a Costa Rican getaway to help Jill make her choice – between the woman she is and the woman she wants to be.
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’m a direct descendent of P.T. Barnum and, by the way, he did not say, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He said, “There’s a customer born every minute.” I have updated that to, “There’s a reader born every minute.”
I’ve always believed in the power of my incredibly supportive readers to get the word out to their friends and family about my books, and I know that without their support I wouldn’t have this amazing career of mine. I think a virtual book tour is a natural extension of this, since each book blogger is connected to a group of loyal readers, and the cumulative power of a string of them all talking about a book takes grassroots support to a whole new level. Book bloggers are becoming more and more powerful in the book world, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about that!!
Is this the first time you have heard of them?
No, I’ve worked with individual bloggers for a few years now.
What do you hope to achieve through promoting your book through a virtual book tour?
I’m hoping to make new friends – both bloggers and readers! And, of course, to have more and more readers discover my beachy books!
Do you promote online through other means? Website? Blog?
Absolutely! Even though my publisher, Hyperion Voice, sends me on national book tours, online promotion has become more important with each book. My website, ClaireCook.com, has received over 4 million hits! And I’m very active on Facebook and Twitter. Friend me! Follow me!!
Who maintains your website?
I do! ClaireCook.com is my pride and joy, and it’s very much a reflection of who I am and what I write. Even more important, it’s one of the most important ways I communicate with my readers, and I think of it as my gift to them. Besides excerpts and book club questions, I post book event pictures and newsletters. I also have writing and reinvention pages, where I share everything I’ve learned on my own journey. I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45 and walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the movie of my second novel at 50, so I hope my website inspires visitors as they search for their own next chapters.
What are your experiences with offline booksignings? Do you have much luck selling your book through that method?
Yes, I had incredible turnouts of enthusiastic women at my Seven Year Switch events. (Photos up on events page ClaireCook.com.) I love meeting readers in person, but it’s simply impossible to get out to all of them, and if I did I’d never get my next novel written! So I think it’s important to reach out to readers in a variety of ways, and a virtual book tour is a fantastic option.
Here’s a fun question. If money was no object, how would you promote your book?
I am truly lucky in that my publisher is really behind my books and gets huge hits for them – People, Good Morning America, Today. My books are also displayed front and center on the beach read tables in both indie and chain stores. On my end, I put lots of energy into reaching out to individual readers, book clubs, booksellers, librarians, bloggers. Seven Year Switch even has a great book trailer. And now I have my first virtual book tour! So I can’t imagine what could make things better, except maybe another movie. Anybody happen to know Sandra Bullock??
Thank you for this interview, Claire Cook. Do you have any final words?
A huge thank you to Pump Up Your Book and to all the fabulous book bloggers who are hosting me, and to all wonderful the readers they’ll reach. And please make sure you check out the Seven Year Switch giveaway at ClaireCook.com, where you can win a beach bag filled with all 7 of my novels, plus a beach towel!!
Visit Claire Cook’s official tour page here to find out where she’ll be touring throughout July ’10 with Pump Up Your Book!