Shana Mahaffey lives in San Francisco in an Edwardian compound that she shares with an informal cooperative of family, friends and five cats. She’s a survivor of Catechism and cat scratch fever, and is a member of the Sanchez Grotto Annex, a writers’ community. Her work has been published in SoMa Literary Review and Sunset Magazine. She welcomes all visitors to her website www.shanamahaffey.com, and is happy to meet with book groups in-person or in cyberspace (phone/webcam/the works).
Her latest book is Sounds Like Crazy.
Thank you for this interview, Shana. Can we start out by having you tell us briefly what your new book is about?
Sounds Like Crazy is as a darkly comic and ultimately healing story about Holly Miller, an Emmy Award winning cartoon voiceover performer who has actual voices in her head, multiple personalities who make her career a huge success, and shield her from a terrible secret in her past.
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 have learned from other authors in the San Francisco writing community that grassroots marketing is one of the best ways to spread the word about your book. Also, as an unknown (but hopefully not for long) author, it is very difficult to get any kind of marketing and publicity. My publisher did try to get reviews, etc., however, all but one opportunity came through my own efforts. And the best reviews have been from online bloggers who love to read and love to tell people about what they are reading.
Is this the first time you have heard of them? If not, where did you hear of them?
I heard about blog tours from an other author in my writing community; and, I participated in one last spring. In my experience, blog tours are the best way for new and established authors to promote their books. The folks reviewing on these tour stops are passionate readers who want to talk about books. It doesn’t get any better than that.
As you know, a virtual book tour involves – among other things – interviews and guest posts. Do you prefer one over the other?
No, both are fun and interesting, and they offer different perspectives on the author, the book, etc.
Some authors prefer an all review tour. Can you tell us if you are one of them and why or why not?
I do like to mix things up with reviews and other ways of communication about my book, my process, and other details that might be interesting to readers. With reviews only, you still get to interact through the comments, but this type of dialog is more restrictive.
What do you hope to achieve through promoting your book through a virtual book tour?
I would like to reach more readers and hopefully entice them to read my book. And, if this one is not of interest, at least open up the possibility that they’ll remember my name and take a look at my next book.
Do you promote online through other means? Website? Blog?
I do have a website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account. My website is updated often. The other three mediums, not as often. Although, I am working on getting better at this.
Who maintains your website/blog?
I maintain both.
What are your experiences with offline booksignings? Do you have much luck selling your book through that method?
I have to say that my experiences with offline book signings have been limited, but the few I’ve done, I’ve not had a great deal of luck with. Also, I do offer people the opportunity to order a signed copy of my book from a local bookstore, but only two readers have taken advantage of this.
Here’s a fun question. If money were no object, how would you promote your book?
Well, this largely depends on what the money can do for me. If it could get me on Oprah, reviewed in the New York Times, the New Yorker, on NPR, etc., I would add these to my promotional activities. If it didn’t make the difference to me getting interviewed or reviewed in these type of publications, I’d use it to travel to book club meetings that I’ve attended and plan to attend via Skype.
Thank you for this interview, Shana. Do you have any final words?
Thank you for the interview. And, I hope everyone enjoys their time with Holly and her committee. Of course I and my many personalities would love to have you on our mailing list, Facebook page, and will happily answer any emails and meet with any book clubs (local or via webcam).
You can visit Shana’s tour stops by visiting her official tour page here!