Friday, September 07, 2007

The Author's Corner features Nikki Leigh

The Author's Corner is presented by Kathleen Gage and The Street Smarts Marketing and Promotions Blog.

This week's featured author is Nikki Leigh. She is an award-winning author. Nikki has done promotional work for over fifteen years. When she signed the first book contract, she knew her marketing background was a big advantage. Her new book -Book Promo 101 is a way to share the things she's learned. It gives information about many types of promotion.

Tell us about yourself - where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)
I'm from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I started writing when I was a kid in school. But, I didn't get serious about getting back to my writing until about 15 years after I graduated. A woman suggested that I read The Artists' Way and that helped me to overcome so many personal concerns and doubts. At that time I joined an online writers' community and I dove back into honing my craft. In 2005, I was in a position to make a career change and I decided to dive into freelancing fulltime. That has allowed me to work on a wide variety of writing projects and it led to four business books and seven ghostwriting projects. This is in addition to my fiction books which are in print. When I'm not writing, I work with my business clients to do bookkeeping, promotional work and business consulting.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I started to form an idea for a book over twenty years ago and finally got back to work on it in late 2002. The story was coming together, but I couldn't figure out the right place to set the story. In 2001, I visited Cape Cod which was my first idea for a setting. On the same trip, I visited Cape Ann, Massachusetts and that's when the story really took shape. Since then I've released 2 other books set in that area and I'm working on the fourth Misty Cove book.

How many books have you written?
I have four novels in print, four business books in print. My first anthology, one novel is being re-released after some changes and my first author promotion book is being released this fall. I've created a writer's resource ebook which I plan to release in October. In my freelancing work, I've ghostwritten seven books - five promotional books, a novel and a restaurant management book. One of my recent freelancing clients is talking about putting my name as a co-author on the book I wrote for him.

How do you decide on their topic?
My business topics and ghostwriting topics were based on my business and promotional experience. I use that experience to choose the projects I want to work on. All of my novels are centered near the coast and lighthouses. I enjoy history, the coast, lighthouses and the lifesaving service, so I work these topics into my novels.

What works best to keep you focused and on track?
Deadlines and the desire to see the project completed are two great ways to stay focused. With my freelancing, bills coming due also keeps me focused to finish projects.

Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
I tell people that my fiction is a labor of love. At some point, I'd love for my fiction to pay better, but I'm still building readership and visibility at this point. Although my promotional launch for my Cape Hatteras mystery has helped to propel my sales in the last few months. My business and promotional books are more about making money since my freelancing keeps the bills paid. My author promotion book is a combination of the love of writing and making money. It's an awesome chance to share the things I've learned over the last 16 years in promotional work.

What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
I have an extensive website which features information about each of my books, the settings, the characters and much more. It also has writing and promotional articles for writers and readers. I've attended some writer's events and have held a number of online chats. I send press releases about my books and special events. I've got several online message boards that I use to promote my books. I offered to moderate a panel at the Virginia Festival of the Book which helped me meet a lot of people and I had a chance to brainstorm with Dr Bill Bass (of the body farm) and Jeffrey Deaver. In October, I'm scheduled with a couple of friends to do a workshop about setting development in stories. In the past, I've taught a series of character development classes that developed and I'm hoping to rework the classes to offer again in the near future.

What are some unique methods?
I'm the Self Promotion Topic Editor on and this gives me good visibility. I've hosted a couple of chats for Inspired Author about writing related topics. When Lilah and the Locket was released, I planned a week at the beach (where the story is set) and I contacted my preferred businesses before the trip. I then visited these stores with the book and they are being sold in 7 stores along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. For more information, visit A couple of years ago, I created a fundraising event for a local animal shelter and that's where Lilah and the Locket began. Details are posted at: Lilah and the Locket features a couple and their dog - the characters are based on a real couple and their dog. This was part of the Pets 'n Portraits event and has opened up interesting ways to promote the book and they just asked if I'd like to write a sequel - of course I said “YES!” I formed an author co-op and we promote one another and the group. The website is

Do you sell through a website?
I use my websites -, and there are links from to my sale pages. My books are also available on Amazon, Borders, Abe Books and I promote that they can be ordered at any bookstore. The ebook versions of my books are available on many online ebook sale sites.

Do you plan on writing additional books?
Most definitely. I'm working on plans for my next two novels, three short stories and the next book in my author promotional series and I have a new character who will be the focus of a series of short stories.

This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh, author of Book Promo 101 –


Douglas Quinn said...

Enjoyed the interview. Nikki and I both have new mystery novel releases that take place on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Looks like they will both be the first book in a continuing series. Looking forward to meeting Nikki one of these days and trading writing and book promotions ideas.

Kathleen Gage said...

Nikki is very sharp and has lots of great ideas.

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer