I recommend building a strong, targeted following in your industry on Twitter and following potential consumers for your product or service. For example, since I am in publishing, I will go to the Twitter accounts of publishers and bestselling authors in my genres and check out their followers.
Stacy Juba loves to write stories about Characters at a Crossroads: individuals who are finding themselves and getting on the right life path after overcoming obstacles. Her goals are to entertain readers of all ages as well as inspire them. She has made numerous bestseller lists including GalleyCat’s Barnes & Noble Bestsellers and GalleyCat’s Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers. Stacy has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice, and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag. She has had a book ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. Stacy’s young adult novel Face-Off, about twin brothers competing on the hockey rink for their father’s approval, was originally published when she was 18 years old under her maiden name, Stacy Drumtra, and has been re-issued for a new generation of readers. She is a past recipient of the William F. Deeck – Malice Domestic Grant.
In addition to her fiction-writing accomplishments, Stacy has written more than 3,000 articles and won over a dozen writing awards, including recognition from the New England Press Association, Parenting Publications of America, Suburban Newspapers of America and the Stuttering Foundation of America. She is also a winner of the American Cancer Society New England Chapter’s Sword of Hope Media Award.
Browse her website www.stacyjuba.com for more information on her mystery, romance, and contemporary fiction books for adults, teens, and children, guest author features and resources on how to build your own “character,” and for her book/product reviews and advocacy relating to Type 1 Diabetes.
Where did the idea for your writing business come from?
When I saw the success that self-published authors were having selling books through outlet such as Kindle and Nook, I knew that it was time for me to establish my own line of books. Getting a contract for the paperback version of my mystery novel was what led me to set up a website and blog, but when I realized how profitable publishing e-books could be and how it was such an effective way of directly reaching readers, I decided to become a writer/entrepreneur.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day is writing for at least 20 minutes to a couple hours, and then focusing on book promotion. I make it productive by being organized about the marketing. One day I’ll write or edit blog posts to draw traffic toward my website, another day I’ll use Hootsuite to schedule tweets that promote my blog posts, another day I’ll follow up on querying book reviewers and interview sites, and yet another day I’ll work on filling out interview forms and guest blog posts. I also am an active member of the blog sharing community Triberr, which helps bloggers to extend their Twitter reach. Due to my participation with that, my blog posts have a Twitter reach of over 2 million, but it requires me spending a few minutes every day sharing my tribemates’ posts so that they will reciprocate. I also have a high school intern, who does projects such as creating Pinterest boards, scheduling tweets, and screening book review sites for the best leads. In addition to writing books, I also write newsletter articles for freelance clients from time to time, and I sometimes teach online writing workshops, so when I’m on an article deadline or teaching, my day might be slightly different.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring my story ideas to life by fleshing them out through an outline and character charts. I take the same approach with bringing my marketing ideas to life. I have a book promotion binder that lists all the blog posts scheduled to date on my site, which includes interviews and guest posts from other authors. I also keep track of my own interviews, book spotlights, guest posts, and ad campaigns that are scheduled on other sites. In addition, in the same binder I keep a running list of blog topic ideas, book project ideas, and to-do list items such as have cover designed, hire an editor to read my manuscript, or send out newsletter to my mailing list.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The growth of audiobooks really excites me. Working with the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), I was able to have all of my books produced as audiobooks with extremely talented narrators. I think audiobooks will become more and more popular as readers get accustomed to downloading them on their devices and not having to purchase the CDs and cassettes of the past.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I do a lot of networking with other authors including NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors. As a result, I often participate in group sales and advertising campaigns. With 10 or 20 of us publicizing an event to our social networking followers and newsletter mailing lists, it generates a lot of excitement and allows each of us to reach new readers. I get asked to participate in a lot of these events as other authors know that I follow through on my commitments and I have a strong marketing platform.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had lasted two weeks. I was hired to do marketing for a company, and just days after I was hired, the supervisor who hired me was laid off. Then I was transferred to the technical writing department. I asked to be laid off as it was a job I felt would make me miserable, and I was also unqualified for it. What I learned was to use my time productively during this four month stint of unemployment. I buckled down and finished a complete manuscript for my mystery/romantic suspense novel Twenty-Five years Ago Today, and started submitting to agents. I also broadened my networking circle. This experience taught me that I had the self discipline and desire to make it as an author.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have had my website created in WordPress rather than Dreamweaver. Initially, it was designed in Dreamweaver and I thought I would be able to learn to maintain it myself, but quickly found that I didn’t have an aptitude for Dreamweaver. As a result, I needed to pay a designer every time I wanted something simple added to the site, such as new review quotes. Eventually, I had it redone in WordPress so that I could maintain it myself and this was by far one of my smartest business decisions.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I recommend building a strong, targeted following in your industry on Twitter and following potential consumers for your product or service. For example, since I am in publishing, I will go to the Twitter accounts of publishers and bestselling authors in my genres and check out their followers. I look for profiles that indicate they love to read or review books, as well as people who are in my target audience, such as women readers and teens.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Starting a blog has helped me to grow my business as it draws new traffic to my website. People see a post on Twitter or Facebook and visit my site, or they stumble onto an older post via Google. I still get hits to posts from years ago. Most of my blog posts don’t promote me or my books, but provide something of value to readers, such as an author interview, review, or a giveaway from a blog tour company. Yet each post still acts as a virtual billboard drawing new visitors to my site where they can learn about my books.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I once put a lot of time, money and energy into an ad campaign that didn’t have the results I was hoping for. I’d had an amazing experience with a similar ad campaign for another book, and expected the same results. Instead, I was disappointed. I overcame the disappointment by taking a few days off to rest, and then I got back into writing my latest book. Although it is important to promote the backlist, it is also important to have new material ready for publication.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There is a need for a site that focuses on promoting audiobooks to audiobook listeners. If a site had a huge mailing list and social networking following of eager audiobook listeners, and could prove that these readers made purchases based on ads, then authors would pay a great deal to advertise their books. Word spreads like wildfire among authors when there is a new hot site to advertise your books and that you have a good chance of making a profit or at least breaking even on the ad. There are a few key sites for Kindle and Nook books, but not much for audiobooks.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I majored in exercise science and originally wanted to become a physical therapist or work in cardiac rehabilitation, but I found that the writing field was a better fit for my talents. I wasn’t skilled at hands-on tasks such as taking blood pressure or reading EKGs. I’ve always been interested in health, though, and have specialized in health writing for my freelance articles. I also blog a lot about diabetes and families, a personal interest of mine.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets and to keep tabs on various Twitter lists and hashtags. This helps me find relevant information to retweet and meet new contacts, and it also helps me to easily see my mentions, direct messages, and scheduled tweets. I use WordPress for my web site and find it very user friendly. I have found SiteGround to be a reliable web host.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I was greatly influenced by the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It has a lot of important principles in it about having a plan and communicating well with others, and helps you to see that other people have different perspectives and that it is important to respect that even if you don’t agree with their viewpoint. Many successful businesses have taught the 7 habits to their employees. It teaches a win-win mindset, and I also like that it discusses the importance of balance and rejuvenating yourself with downtime. A lot of entrepreneurs work incredibly hard, and either take work home with them or are based out of their homes. It’s important to remember to pace yourself and not to overdo it, as in the longrun you will be more productive if you are rested.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I have been influenced a lot by indie author Darcia Helle. She created the publishing imprint Quiet Fury Books and established the writing community Bestseller Bound. Darcia is a talented writer and she is also a friend to other indie authors. She has an influential book blog, is active on Twitter, and has spearheaded many group projects such as anthologies, giveaway events, and collaborative book trailer videos. She sets a great example for how authors can work together as colleagues, rather than be competitors.
Stacy Juba’s Blog: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/posts/
Stacy Juba on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Juba/100155471301
Stacy Juba on Twitter: @stacyjuba
Stacy Juba on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2988212.Stacy_Juba
Stacy Juba on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/stacyjuba/