This is the first in a series of interviews with authors turned entrepreneurs. Today’s guest author/entrepreneur is media maven and all around savvy chica, Rachel Thompson, owner and creative brain behind Bad Redhead Media, a company that offers social media, branding, and book marketing for authors. Her articles appear regularly in the San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self Publishing Monthly. Her latest book, Broken Pieces, is available currently in eBook format on Amazon and B&N and was released in print in November by Booktrope.
Me: When did you start Bad Redhead Media?
Rachel: I started it unofficially in 2010 (helping author friends, doing my own marketing — and officially hung out my shingle in 2011.
Me: What made you uniquely qualified to start a media company?
Rachel: A few things: I got my BA in Communications Studies and Journalism, fifteen years in pharmaceutical industry (as a sales rep, sales trainer, and ad account exec), and really the fact that while I can’t do geometry to save my life, I GET how social media works. I learned many tips and tricks to manage and grow as a self-published author and working with traditionally published and indie authors.
Me: What does the term hybrid author mean to you? Do you consider yourself a hybrid author?
Rachel: In my mind and from what is happening more and more are authors like myself who create their own ebooks and do well enough to attract attention from publishers. Booktrope has a submissions process like any publisher, but they include the author in every aspect of creation and royalties are higher than a traditional publisher. I think that’s a new wave also — authors keeping eBook rights but signing with a publisher for print.
Me: Do you think the changing publishing industry affords new opportunities for authors? If so, how can authors be open to such opportunities?
Rachel: Yes, absolutely. I’m evidence of that. There are few things authors need to do if they want to be in both arenas (self-published and traditional or hybrid):
1) Establish an interactive author platform (an optimized website, a blog with fresh weekly (or more) content, social media that is interactive — avoid one-way broadcasting of ‘buy my book!’ at all costs, exploring and familiarizing themselves with how book bloggers and reviewers work — most new authors have NO idea and these folks are crucial to your success — and overall, just realizing that writing a book is only one half of the work.
2) If you go completely self-published, don’t skimp on hiring professionals to edit, proof, format, and design. Millions of new books are available, so the onus is on us to make them the absolute best they can be!
3) Have realistic expectations. So many authors blast their book to little avail. My advice is always, ‘Make a friend, make a sale,’ meaning that relationship-building is far more important to lay the groundwork or foundation. I have my company because, even though I would be considered mid-list at this point (given my sales and rankings on three books), I don’t make enough to stop working completely and just write. One book RARELY becomes a New York Times #1 bestseller (not to say that can’t happen, of course, because it can), but not super often for an indie author without a large publisher behind them.
4) For traditionally pub’d authors (I have several who are clients), the work is the SAME. They either hire me or do all their own social media and book marketing. Having an agent and a publisher isn’t a magic bullet that takes away marketing. Readers are innately curious about authors and social media and blogging allows us to connect in ways that were unheard of even 5 years ago.
You can contact Rachel in her many forms here:
Author Site: rachelintheoc.com
BadRedhead Media Site: badredheadmedia.com
Facebook Broken Pieces Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/BrokenPiecesByRachelThompson
Twitter (Business): @BadRedheadMedia
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/j9oaH
BadRedhead Media Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/koN8r