Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A chat with Bk Walker and Janis Friesler, Two Authors Promoting Authors

Indie Publishing is booming and authors/promoters like Bk Walker and Janis Friesler help to make it easier to get your name and book in front of the public.

Bk Walker is a self-published author of multi-genre fiction. Bk also owns Virtual Book Tour Cafe where authors can schedule book tours, book reviews and book blitzes. 

BIO: B.K. Walker is working as a Pediatric Home Care Nurse, and has had a love for reading and writing since she was a child. B.K. also runs several blogs,  where she hosts author interviews and organizes virtual book tours for other authors, helping them to promote and market their work. She lives in Pennsylvania with her three children, a Pitbull named Rancid, a Dachshund named Sadie, a cat named Whiskers (aka Shitigan), and a goldfish named Albert.

Janie Friesler is a self-published author of non-fiction. Janis owns Assisting Authors Online which helps authors with their online presence including website traffic, book trailer videos and formatting for eBooks.

BIO: Janis Friesler was born in Milwaukee, WI. and attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison and UCLA.  Janis earned a degree in English and Education. She taught elementary and middle school for many years. She is retired from teaching but subs a few times a month to keep her knowledge up to date. Janis is married and has two dogs that are adorable, Cosmo and Gizmo, and her hobbies are playing bridge, golf, knitting, and reading books.

I'm excited to introduce these two wonderful authors who followed their dreams and are always willing to help a fellow author. Bk and Janis collaborate often between their businesses to offer the best services available.

Help me give these very busy ladies a warm welcome!

Louise: Bk and Janis, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you two could join me for a chat. I have to say I admire the both of you and the many talents you have. When did you first decide to create your marketing/advertising companies for authors? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

Bk: I decided about 2 years ago when I was finding many authors not sure what to do about promoting their work. There was so much frustration you could almost feel the tension in the air, even while sitting in front of my computer.

The Virtual Book Tour Cafe was created with authors in mind to give authors and their book the attention they deserve.

Janis: Hi Louise and all your readers.  This is a very interesting question with a rather long answer. I was a middle school English teacher for many years. After I retired, I designed websites for small businesses, most of them for my friends. I have a childhood friend, Trish Silver who I haven't talked to for many years.  We connected on Facebook like many long lost friends have done. As fate would have it, she wrote a book, When I Remember Love. When she found out I knew my way around computers, she asked me to run her website, so I did.

I have always been an idea person.  As a teacher I won quite a few awards for curricular project design.  I started getting ideas about promoting her book on her site.  I studied best practices in book promotion leading me to social media marketing with a peppering of Search Engine Optimization. I learned about video book trailers blogging, and Amazon book promotion, Linked in groups, Twitter for authors on and on. I worked on my new education for a year.  I met BK searching information about blogs and put Trish on one of her book tours.  Now I put all my authors on the tours.

Louise: Please tell us a little about your companies and your web sites.

Bk: I'm the founder of the Virtual Book Tour Cafe'. I organize virtual book tours, setting authors up with various blogs to do interviews, guest posts, giveaways and sometimes they even get a review of their book. I also offer other services, which I've deemed “Cafe' Creations', creating Book Trailers, cover art, promo ads, banners, blog headers, buttons and more. Anyone can stop in to either of my sites, both have info, www.virtualbooktourcafe.com and www.vbtcafe.com

Janis: Another interesting story.  A little over a year after I started researching my career,  a former 8th grade student of mine, David Schultz, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Physics and Computer Science.  We have kept in touch over the years because he would help me with my websites.  When he was my student, he did all the computer programming for an online interdisciplinary project I wrote on the Iditarod.  It was an amazing project that won first place in the country.  Because of it I was written up in an article for the Knowledge Loom. a US Department of Education Website at Brown University. 

By the time he graduated, I was being contacted by people in my Linked in groups to help them promote their books.  I would express some of my ideas in the groups and I people liked what I had to say.  So I decided to branch out.  I talked to David and he agreed to create all the Wordpress websites and blogs and help with other technical details.  I would run the company and do all the promoting.  That is how Assisting Authors Online was born. I had to have a blog so I decided to do series about promotions that authors could do themselves. Of course when they find out how much time it takes, some would rather I do it for them. I also give shorter tips on Facebook, We have so many services, but what I have found out that works best is a Book Launch and has structured our services to fit this blue print.  We have a pdf explaining this plan on our website.

Louise: Now Bk, you’re also an author with several books under your belt. Tell us about a typical work day for you. 

Bk: I don't get much time for writing, that's for sure lol. I normally get up and grab some coffee, gotta have my caffeine or, ya know I might actually die or something. I then sit in front of my computer, answer the thousands (literally) of emails I get daily, responding to questions about tours, writing in general, advertising. Then I hop on over to FB & Twitter, respond to those, gotta keep up social networking #goodforbusiness. I schedule tours, design banners, create media kits for the authors going on tour. I take the dogs out and feed them. Turn on channel 833 on my Satellite – Classic Rock, answer some more emails that have meandered in. Finalize schedules, send them out to authors and hosts. I'm continually updating schedules from signups. Sometimes I plug into my radio show on Blog Talk Radio for an author interview, and I constantly promo current tours. When  my muse strikes I take time to write in one of the 7 books I'm working on. That usually doesn't happen until way late at night, or maybe it's morning, like now LOL.

Louise: Please share with us without giving any spoilers a bit on your latest release Night Secrets.

Bk: Night Secrets is actually a book that I didn't think anyone was going to like at all. It turns out that everyone likes it though! *happy dancing

Keara Crosby has just lost her parents in a plane crash. She is learning to live without them while in her Senior year of High School. Her father's sister has been given legal guardianship over her until Keara graduates, but the deal is she must move from Ireland to the states to honor that. When Aingeal, (Keara's Aunt) arrives, Keara starts noticing strange things happening and finding weird items in her room, backpack, that her aunt has left her.

When a new club in town opens, her best friend Jared talks her in to going. Only going was a lot more than she bargained for. She is faced with vampires and werewolves all while learning about her true heritage. She soon comes to realize that some things of the night, just may kill you.

Louise: Janis, I see you have published Use Amazon To Promote Your Books. What kind of feedback are you getting from authors who have purchased this book? 

Janis: I wrote this book for people who sign up for my newsletter.   They get it at no cost.  It is really a compilation of blog posts with some updating.  I haven't have time to write a book to sell since I am doing so many things for my clients and to help authors.  I think they like the book.  I hope your readers will sign up for my newsletter and get the book.  If you do readers, please leave a comment on my blog or Facebook page, and let me know what you think.

Louise: Have you written other books the authors/readers should know about?

Janis: I am going to compile another book, Why Authors Should Blog from my blog posts on that topic.  I am going to give that away to all the people who "Like" our Facebook page.

Louise: Please tell us why it is important for a new author to get their name and work on social medias (Twitter, FB) and blogs/websites. 

Bk: It's the perfect way to connect with readers, promote their work, and make new friends. It’s a great platform to build on. How else are people going to know who they are?

Janis: When someone writes a book, it is like giving birth. There is a profound personal attachment to a book that has been created from the mind and heart of the author. Every author wants their book to be loved, but the problem is there are so many authors with so many books, how will their book be found? That is why social media is so important.

Here are a few things an author can do to get his/her name branded and book known.

Author pages can get targeted traffic.  Have a contest or a give-a-away.  Have your book trailer on your page, put up your book tour schedule and banner.  Ask questions on your wall, do surveys.  Always respond to comments.

Authors must have a blog.  I am big on self-hosted blogs (your own domain).  Then you can have an RSS feed that will feed the blog to blog directories, social media sites, and tons of other places.  Make sure that you writes posts that are related to your book but don't self- promote.

Go to other book blogs, many have author promotions, free reviews, spotlights, guest blogs.

Linked in:  Linked in has so many author groups and some give excellent tips to promote books.  Make sure that there are a lot of members in the groups for more exposure. 

Book Trailer: A book trailer is a must have.   A video book review is a great.  You can put these videos all over the place.  There are many video sites to show off your book.

There are so many sites to use to get the word out.

The bottom line is to sell a book; people have to know about it.  This takes time and a hard work so be patient.

Louise: How do each of you think eBooks have impacted books sales for authors and do you see the traditional print copies fading away?

Bk: I think the digital world has EXPLODED book sales. Why wouldn't it? It's right there available for immediate download, people can view billions of books, and never have to leave the comfort of their homes. Some books may not even be carried in retail stores.
I don't think paperbacks have faded away completely, but with technology on the rise with Kindles, Ipads, and the Kindle Fire even, it's definitely not going to see as many sales as digital. There are still those few that HATE e-readers. But, maybe they've not even tried it, because I thought I would hate them too until my kids bought me my Kindle. I love it!

Janis: I think eBooks are here to stay, but I don't think they will replace print books.  I love my Kindle.  I hate taking a ton of books on a trip especially now when they weigh suitcases.
I also like eBooks because one of the services I do is format eBooks so they can be converted for Kindle, Smashwords, IPAD,  Barnes and Noble, etc.  It is trickier than people think to make eBooks look good.

Louise: Who/what is your favorite author and genre to read?

Bk: I absolutely love JD Robb and Laurell K. Hamilton for a traditional authors, and Tina Folsom for an Indie author. I could read her work all day. I didn't think I'd like historical romance until Tina introduced me to Paranormal Historical Romance with her book, Venice Vampyr. Beautiful! 

Janis: I have a lot of favorite authors because I have fairly eclectic taste in books.  I really love books by Ken Follett.  I am really looking forward to his second book set during WWI.

Louise: Bk and Janis, thank you so much for joining me on my blog. I encourage the authors who have stopped by to utilize your services to market their books and the readers to visit your sites to find fresh and seasoned authors to follow!

BK: Thanks so much for having us today Louise. I had so much fun just taking a break and you had some pretty great questions.

Janis: Thanks Louise for inviting me to this stimulating interview.  I really enjoyed answering your thoughtful questions.  I look forward to meeting your readers.

Readers and Authors, both Bk and Janis' sites have Authors/Books to explore and great writer resources!

Visit Bk on her web sites:
BK Media  Entertainment on Facebook

BK Media & Entertainment - Blog Talk Radio

Listen to internet radio with Bk Walker on Blog Talk Radio

Visit Janis on her web sites:
Janis on 
Assisting Authors Online Facebook Fan page


  1. Hi Bk and Janis, thanks again for visiting my blog.
    Bk, I had to snag the pic of Sadie LOL Especially when I saw your comment; "My dog is possessed." LOL She must have heard you reading one of your WIP out loud.

  2. Thank you so much Louise. I had so much fun with this interview and glad you had both Janis and I here to visit and chat :).

  3. BK rocks. She is so on top of her game. She sends out "pitches" for tours with all the info you may need up front. That way you have all the info right away. She also sends out the guest posts or any other info we may need for our tours in plenty of time so we don't feel rushed to get the posts up on our assigned dates. She is awesome to work with!!!!

  4. A fun interview. I love working with BK in hosting authors as they do virtual book tours. It's great to meet other writers, but the to-be-read pile just continues to expand! And with ebooks, well, they don't take up shelf space, but they seem to multiply faster than bunnies. :)

    It's fun to see the pet photos. Sadie looks possessed, I must say. :) One goldfish, BK? ONE?

    I had a cat named Gizmo - great to know his name is being carried on. Thanks, Janis!

    Appreciate getting to know more about both of you. Carry on...

  5. My tour for Immortal Becoming started the 27th of Feb. I am having so much fun with it. The hosts are wonderful, and BK has been absolutely amazing to work with. I can't thank her enough.

  6. I second Wendy's comment - the book tour BK has setup has been a lot of fun and I'm just getting started. Great interview ladies.

  7. Thanks for stopping in guys. :)

    *Blushing* you guys are not giving yourselves enough credit. You're all amazing to work with I love all you do. You all make my job that much easier.

    Lisa - Yes. One goldfish and the reason for that is he's fat and when we put others in the tank, they seem to disappear lol, he eats them. So he's a loner.

    Sadie does look posessed, she's a hoot!

    Wendy and MK, I'm so glad you are enjoying your tours this far :).

    Lori - you're great to work with and I'm glad you think I make your job easy lol. It's all you guys though. Without great hosts, I'd be pretty much useless :).

  8. Great interview BK! I am so proud to be apart of Virtual Book Tour Cafe, you rock for pulling things together. :)
    And I didn't know you were an author! Sounds to me like I need to read up on some of your works.

    Thank you for everything you do BK, I know it has to take so much time and energy.

  9. Thanks for stopping in Jordan. You do a great job yourself. Don't feel bad that you didn't know I write too lol, I don't promote my own work as much as I do others haha.

  10. Thank you for the cool interview, I love getting to know authors :)

  11. Great interview - I doubt many authors, never mind readers, realize the amount of work that goes into promoting a book.

  12. Thanks for stopping in Krystal and Bob.

    Bob, you are right. Many authors have no idea and never realized that they'd have to work hard to promote their books when they decided to get published. We try to make it a bit easier :)

  13. Hi BK and Janis,

    I've worked with BK before when she set up a tour for my release. You gals do a wonderful job helping authors. Please, don't ever stop. We need people like you in our corner.

  14. Ladies, great interview filled with great ideas on how authors need to get themselves out there for readers! BK and Janis, you do amazing work on the book tours you set up! Congrats for helping so many!

  15. Thanks Louise. This was my first interview and I really enjoyed it. Thanks for all the comments. It is a lot of work promoting a book but it is a lot of fun. The best part is meeting so many wonderful people and also sharing the work with people like BK. I hope you all will take a look on my blog, I have a lot of information useful to authors and on our Facebook page as well. Thanks all for this opportunity.

  16. Thanks so much for stopping in Lorrie, Deanna and Jeremy. Glad you enjoyed the interview :)

    Deanna - I miss you lol come back :)

  17. My three favorite book promoters got together here, and this gives me the chance to thank all three together for the fantastic work they have done in promoting my book. Janis was there for me when I needed an expert to get the book in front of friendly eyeballs, and what a fantastic job she did! BK and Louise proved to be such an inspiration as they crafted interviews that gave me the opportunity to tell the story of my book. What am I doing speaking in the past tense? These excellent human beings are still helping me, and I am getting new hits on my book sites because of them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe

  18. So much info here. fabulous post. I dont get much time to write nowadays either, but I plod on lol

  19. Wow, thank you everyone for stopping by and letting Bk and Janis know how much you appreciate them! I'm sure Bk and Janis are grinning from ear to ear with all the compliments!
    And Jonathan, thank you for your kind words. I love doing the interviews whether it's with VBT or authors I contact on my own. Glad I could help in getting exposure for your book.
    I have say the post had 151 hits! More hits than an author interview and more comments.
    Have a great rest of the week everyone!

  20. Thanks Jonathan,

    Once my client always my client. I am always looking for ways to help. You are a joy to work with.

    I love working with Louise and BK as well as all authors. I love doing this.

  21. Very nice interview! I am really looking forward to doing reviews for you BK!

  22. I just want to say thank you to all of you that stopped in! I'm in awe! You all are so fabulous and with you, Janis and I would be out of work, bored, sitting home like old ladies learning how to Knit or something lol. So thank you so much!

  23. I meant without you lol. Fingers are excited haha

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