Author’s Eye View: Diana Cosby Talks Marketing Your Passion

Manda here, and today I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine. Diana Cosby and I first met because she and I are represented by the same agent, but what what I soon learned about her was that she’s not only a fab author of super sexy medieval romantic suspense, but she’s also pretty savvy when it comes to getting the word out about her books. Today she’s gives us some tips on setting marketing goals, and using your passions to sell your work.

A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Her award-winning books are available in five languages. Diana has appeared at Lady Jane’s Salon, in NYC, and in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happily Ever After,” MSN.com, and in Texoma Living Magazine.

After retiring as a Navy Chief, AGC(AW), Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. She is currently working on the sixth book in the award-winning MacGruder brother’s series, and in August released her story in the anthology, “Born To Bite,” with Hannah Howell and Erica Ridley.

Without further ado, here’s Diana!

—————————————–

Once a suspense author sells their book, they’re faced with the new challenge of marketing their work. To me, it’s imperative that the author defines their goals. What exactly are they trying to achieve? Is it a sales number? Do they want to reach a certain best-seller list? With a clear goal in mind, it’s time to push forward, break down the steps in your marketing strategy.

I prefer to do something I call, “Marketing Your Passion.” Simply, this is doing what makes business sense and what is fun. Let’s be clear, marketing is HARD WORK! There are no short cuts, but well laid out plans for maximum effect. As marketing is hard work, why do something you dislike? It will show in your actions and could come across to the reader as insincere.

One normally believes as we’re suspense authors our promotion should center around our books. I personally disagree. I believe that our readers like to learn who we are, and enjoy the connection of having common interests. You do this by sharing your passions. Write articles, volunteer, or give workshops about what intrigues you. Your biography will give readers follow-on information to read more about you.

How do you find venues to submit articles? Look for blog owners seeking authors to appear on their site. Write an article for a local newspaper. Submit an article to a magazine you enjoy. A personal favorite of mine is Reporter Connection . com: http://www.reporterconnection.com/

Each weekday, a message will appear with a reporter or others seeking people to interview about different topics. If a topic is of something that you’re interested in and have knowledge about, you can choose to respond. If your query is accepted, in addition to an interview, quotes or whatever the person is seeking help on, credit will be given to you in the form of your name and a possibly a link to your website in the article.

So, the next time you’re drafting a marketing plan, define your goals as a suspense author, then choose areas in your life where you have fun. In the end you’ll meet amazing people who share your passion. Take care and I wish you every success!

Manda:

Now its time for you guys to weigh in. As a reader, do you like learning what your favorite authors are passionate about besides books? Can you think of any particular examples of authors whose passion for a certain pastime has changed your mind about them? Or maybe turned you on to their books? One commenter will win her choice from Diana’s backlist.

Posted on November 6, 2012, in Author Spotlight, Guest blog, Manda Collins and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. I like to learn what authors are passionate about except for politics. I don’t want to know because I’m afraid that something will be said that will sway me from their work.
    Thank you.
    vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

    • I ABSOLUTELY agree with you, jovialvampire, and that goes for actors and singers too.

    • I am in perfect agreement! I wish there were a way to turn off political speech from authors on my facebook feed…

    • Moi aussi.

      Politics aside, I always read the author bios on the back cover. Doesn’t it seem like authors as a rule are multi-talented people? Just the other day I heard an interview with Alex Danchev who is a university professor of international relations and author of the new Cezanne biography which is getting a lot of buzz. When I read Tinkers, I wondered if Paul Harding had a background in physics. Sure enough, an NYT book review mentioned his avid interest in physics (among other subjects). Diana Gabaldon, I believe, has a PhD and degrees in biological sciences–that knowledge comes through in her storytelling.

      I agree that the author’s passions and fields of knowledge enhance the writing, but that isn’t enough for me. Ultimately the quality of the writing and storytelling has to stand on its own.

  2. I love hearing about authors’ hobbies or other loves–such as taking care of animals, or volunteer work, etc. I have always loved the way Debbie Macomber has combined her passions for knitting and writing.
    Diana, I love all your books and am so happy to see a fellow WRW member doing so well! Congratulations!

  3. Yes, I like learning what may or may not inspire my favorite authors.

  4. I think many first books are sold on personality as much as anything else, so marketing passion is important.

    And while I agree with jovial that politics should be kept out of it, I wanted to remind everyone to get out there and vote! Happy Election Day!

    And much love to a fellow WRW member — congratulations Diana. Lovely interview Manda.

    XO

  5. Welcome Diana, I love your advice (and hate marketing, so this sounds a lot more do-able for me!)

    What I like most about our blog interviews with authors is discovering their personal side, sense of humor, and candid thoughts on life and the profession. Many times I’ve impulse-bought a novel after reading and chatting with an author here. You’re absolutely right, Diana, it isn’t about what they write, it’s about how engaged we were with them personally that day.

    Great interview, Manda, thank you as always.
    AND CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR RT NOMINATION: Best Historical Debut for “How to Dance with a Duke”!!!
    🙂

    • Sarah, I impulse buy based on author personality too. Sometimes when you’re faced with the choice between two books, personality is what gives one book the edge over another. And THANK YOU! I’m still on cloud nine about the nomination:) Can’t believe it, really.

      • I do this too. And, Manda, personality definitely provides the edge when I have limited funds–when do I not??–for books.

        Thanks for the marketing advice, Diana!

        • Hi Gwen, if anything helped, that’s what it’s all about. When a commercial intrigues you, stop and break down why. See if you can incorporate an angle of the commercial in your own work. And, if it makes you laugh, even better. Humor in marketing is always a winner. 🙂 Enjoy your day!
          Slaìnte,

          Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

    • Sarah Andre wrote: Welcome Diana,

      ~Hi Sarah, thank you. It’s my sincere pleasure to be here.

      I love your advice (and hate marketing, so this sounds a lot more do-able for me!)

      ~I love giving workshops on marketing, and had the pleasure of giving one at the 2012 NJRW Conference. Writers work too hard at promotion to not have fun. I believe when writers pair their passions, they crazily find enjoyment and passion in their marketing. My key – be inventive. One writer I spoke with wrote Regency, and enjoyed funraising for a good cause. I suggested using a corset – like the firemen use boots – for holding money at a fundraiser. The idea definitely makes you smile. For me, the more out of the box, the better. 

      What I like most about our blog interviews with authors is discovering their personal side, sense of humor, and candid thoughts on life and the profession. Many times I’ve impulse-bought a novel after reading and chatting with an author here. You’re absolutely right, Diana, it isn’t about what they write, it’s about how engaged we were with them personally that day.

      ~Exactly.

      Great interview, Manda, thank you as always.

       Mandy rocks. Take care, thank you again for stopping by, and I wish you the best!
      Slaìnte,

      Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  6. Congratulations to Manda Collins who has received an RT Book awards nomination for HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE. But really, people, you heard here first that MANDA ROCKS!

  7. Diana, thanks for being with us today and sharing your advice! I love to hear about authors who have succeeded by not only promoting what they love, but by writing what they love. I’d say you fit both descriptions. And BTW- shout out to your awesome co-author, the lovely and talented Erica Ridley!

    • Carey Baldwin wrote: Diana, thanks for being with us today and sharing your advice!

      ~Hi Carey, it’s my sincere pleasure. I appreciate y’all having me here today.

      I love to hear about authors who have succeeded by not only promoting what they love, but by writing what they love. I’d say you fit both descriptions.

      ~My sincere thanks. I feel blessed to be able to what I do. And if in any way I can inspire others, humbling.

      And BTW- shout out to your awesome co-author, the lovely and talented Erica Ridley!

      ~ Erica rocks! A total sweetheart. Thank you again, have a super day, and I wish you the best!
      Slaìnte,

      Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  8. Jovialvampyre wrote: I like to learn what authors are passionate about except for politics. I don’t want to know because I’m afraid that something will be said that will sway me from their work. Thank you.

    ~Hi and thank you so much for stopping by. I’m a firm believer that authors and their readers share many common likes. Take care and I hope you have a fabulous day!
    Slaìnte,

    Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  9. Sarah Andre wrote: I ABSOLUTELY agree with you, jovialvampire, and that goes for actors and singers too.

    ~Hi Sarah, thank you so much for stopping by. I believe readers and the authors they enjoy share many interests. It’s always neat to connect with an author you enjoy in a fun way. Take care, enjoy your day, and I wish you the best!
    Slaìnte,

    Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  10. Diana, thank you so much for joining us at Kiss and Thrill! So sorry to hear you were affected by hurricane Sandy. I’ve been glued to the TV for over a week, worried as I watched coverage of the storm and aftermath. I just read on NPR’s website that the Nor’easter headed your way may be weaker than expected, and hoping that prediction will prove correct.

    As an aside, Diana, I have to say a special hello – you judged me in a contest a few years ago and made my day with your glowing feedback. I want to thank you again for taking the time to both judge the contest and then correspond with me afterward. The willingness of authors to reach out to other authors is what makes this business so great!

    Lastly, in regards to the topic – the last time that I can think of that I bought a book by an author new to me because I’d read something about their interests outside of writing that interested me was a book by Pamela Clare. Clare had written a law that passed in Colorado banning the use of shackles on female inmates giving birth while imprisoned. I was so impressed I immediately bought the book and loved it. This is the blog that sold me: http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/pamela-clare-romance-state-law-and-womens-rights/

    • I remember that article about Pamela Clare too, Rachel! I had read her before that and was impressed by her credentials as a journalist, but that bit of knowledge about her made me love her even more. And now I know why she got the political bit so right in her first Romantic Suspense which had a state legislator hero. A darn sexy one too!

    • ~My sincere thanks for having me here, Rachel. An honor.

      So sorry to hear you were affected by hurricane Sandy. I’ve been glued to the TV for over a week, worried as I watched coverage of the storm and aftermath.

      ~We were blessed to be spared any major damage. The eye went overhead as it came on-shore, so we had a couple of hours reprieve, which made a huge difference. So many homes are devastated. It’s heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers to those struggling to rebuild their lives.

      I just read on NPR’s website that the Nor’easter headed your way may be weaker than expected, and hoping that prediction will prove correct.

      ~I’ve been following that. I saw today where they said it not affect us as much. Fingers crossed.

      As an aside, Diana, I have to say a special hello – you judged me in a contest a few years ago and made my day with your glowing feedback. I want to thank you again for taking the time to both judge the contest and then correspond with me afterward. The willingness of authors to reach out to other authors is what makes this business so great!

      ~Rachel, if any of my comments helped, that’s what it’s all about. *Hugs* Please know I’m cheering you on!

      Lastly, in regards to the topic – the last time that I can think of that I bought a book by an author new to me because I’d read something about their interests outside of writing that interested me was a book by Pamela Clare. Clare had written a law that passed in Colorado banning the use of shackles on female inmates giving birth while imprisoned. I was so impressed I immediately bought the book and loved it. This is the blog that sold me: http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/pamela-clare-romance-state-law-and-womens-rights

      ~Fascinating. Thanks for sharing. I bet her book was an interesting read. Take care. I appreciate your kind words. Have a great day, and I wish you every success! *Hugs*
      Slaìnte,

      Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  11. Manda Collins wrote: I am in perfect agreement! I wish there were a way to turn off political speech from authors on my facebook feed…

    ~Hi Manda, my sincere thanks for having me visit today. As far as the politics, today’s voting day, and the numerous adds & commercials will end. Take care, enjoy your day, and I wish you the best!
    Slaìnte,

    Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  12. Krista Hall wrote: Moi aussi. Politics aside, I always read the author bios on the back cover.

    ~Hi Krista, thank you so much for taking the time to post. I love reading author’s bios as well.

    Doesn’t it seem like authors as a rule are multi-talented people? Just the other day I heard an interview with Alex Danchev who is a university professor of international relations and author of the new Cezanne biography which is getting a lot of buzz. When I read Tinkers, I wondered if Paul Harding had a background in physics. Sure enough, an NYT book review mentioned his avid interest in physics (among other subjects). Diana Gabaldon, I believe, has a PhD and degrees in biological sciences–that knowledge comes through in her storytelling.

    ~It’s so fascinating. I believe Catarine Asaro is a ballerina and a physicist. How amazing a pairing is that? It’s no wonder she writes sci-fi romance.

    I agree that the author’s passions and fields of knowledge enhance the writing, but that isn’t enough for me. Ultimately the quality of the writing and storytelling has to stand on its own.

    ~I agree, in the end it comes down to story. Always the bottom line.  Take care, enjoy your evening, and I wish you the best!
    Slaìnte,

    Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  13. Sharon Wray wrote: I love hearing about authors’ hobbies or other loves–such as taking care of animals, or volunteer work, etc. I have always loved the way Debbie Macomber has combined her passions for knitting and writing.

    ~Hi Sharon, thank you so much for stopping by and posting. I believe when we connect with authors on a personal level, it enhances our enjoyment of their story.

    Diana, I love all your books and am so happy to see a fellow WRW member doing so well! Congratulations!

    ~*Hugs* Thank you so much, Sharon. I’m blessed to write, and humbled that my readers enjoy my stories. I hope you’re enjoying the day, and I wish you the best!
    Slaìnte,

    Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  14. Deb wrote: Yes, I like learning what may or may not inspire my favorite authors.

    ~Hi Deb, thank you for stopping by. I love reading about my favorite authors and learning something unexpected.  Too fun. Take care and enjoy your evening. I wish you the best!
    Slaìnte,

    Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  15. Diana Belchase wrote: I think many first books are sold on personality as much as anything else, so marketing passion is important.

    ~Hi Diana, thank you so much for stopping by. I believe that when an author markets in a way that supports what their passionate about, their credibility of topic comes through.

    And while I agree with jovial that politics should be kept out of it, I wanted to remind everyone to get out there and vote! Happy Election Day!

    ~

    And much love to a fellow WRW member — congratulations Diana. Lovely interview Manda. XO

    ~*Hugs* Thank you so much, I’ve received so many blessings in my career, and I’m sincerely thankful for each and every one. Most of all, I’m thankful for all of the amazing people who have taken time out of their crazy busy lives to make a positive difference in mine. Take care, enjoy your evening, and I wish you the best!
    Slaìnte,

    Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  16. My sincere thanks for having me on Kiss and Thrill today. It was wonderful talking with y’all. I had a blast. 🙂

    Manda, I appreciate all of your hard work in setting up the behind the scenes for my blog.

    On an aside, I’d like to mention that each year I run an International Food Bank Food Drive. It’s a charity of m heart, and one person who donates to a local food bank wins a signed set-to-date of the MacGruder brother’s series, and a copy of the Anthology Born To Bite, which I’ll sign. If you’re interested in participating, here are the details:

    ***PERMISSION TO SHARE***

    3rd Annual International Food Bank Food Drive Challenge

    It’s the holidays again, an emotion-filled time where it seems there are not enough hours in each day to fit everything in, not to mention dealing with the struggling economy. But, in this time of financial challenges, I ask each of you to please consider one more stop on your crazy to do list, that of making a donation to a local food bank. Your donation can be a dollar, a can of corn, whatever you can give. Anything you can offer to those with nothing is a gift they didn’t have.
    How it works: Starting on the 1st of November, when you donate to a local food bank, post on my Facebook page or Facebook Fan page, beneath the daily International Food Bank Challenge post, add your donation along with your name and contact information. On December 5th I will use http://www.random.org to draw from all of the names of people who donated that I received. The winner will receive an autographed set of the MacGruder brother series to date; His Captive, His Woman, His Conquest, and His Destiny. Also, a copy of the Born To Bite, a Highland vampire anthology featuring Hannah Howell, Erica Ridley, and myself. I will sign the set, and then send them priority to whoever you want to make a personal holiday present.

    2012 International Food Bank Challenge – Goal: 1000 donations.

    I wish each of you a wonderful holiday season. May your every dream come true!

    *Again, my sincere thanks for having me on Kiss and Thrill. I wish each of you a wonderful holiday season filled with blessings. *Hugs*
    Slaìnte,

    Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  17. Wonderful post! I love reading about authors, what inspires them, their passions, interests and hobbies. Great advice to blend promotion with what gives the promoter joy, hope some day I can achieve it :). The comments here are enlightening and fun to read as well. Just started following this blog as a result of Diana’s post here…Thanks!

    • Hi Leigh,
      Thank you so much for stopping by, and always wonderful to see you. I really encourage authors to think about what they love to do, and to find a way to pair it with their writing. For example, I love volunteering for Habitat For Humanity. A couple of times I’ve set up a day where romance writers came in for a build day on a HFH home. It was a blast, wonderful connection and support for the community, and positive interaction with the community.
      This is a wonderful blog. Again, thanks for saying hi, take care, and I wish you the very best!
      Slaìnte,

      Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

  18. I have to admit that 2 of the wonderful ladies here at Kiss and Thrill have opened my eyes to a whole new list of authors. Carey and Lena have been wonderful Twitter friends and I’ve discovered one thing we all have in common… a fear of wild bears up close and personal. Getting to “know” them a bit has allowed me to read, enjoy and love their work in a way that makes it personal…not just someone who writes a great story and have no other knowledge of them. It is always more fun to share a story with a “friend” than it is a stranger.

    • 🙂 Hi Julie, thank you so much for stopping by. I agree, knowing the author does make reading their story a bit more fun. Have a super day, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!
      Slaìnte,

      Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN Ret.

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