It is thrilling that you are joining us at this year’s GLVWG “Write Stuff” conference and what amazing information you will be bringing!
Suzy Kuhn: I feel very honored to have been asked to join the conference faculty this year. I’m a Pennsylvania girl, I always love “going home”.
I was hoping you wouldn’t mind giving us a teaser about the “Author Promotion Boot Camp” workshop you will be leading on Friday, April 8.
Suzy Kuhn: I am the originator of Author Boot Camp, which I began several years ago at a retail event. Because other Author Boot Camps have sprung up, I now call mine “SuzyQ Boot Camp”.
At GLVWG I will be covering the topic of engagement in these three areas: Author Etiquette, Social Media and Retail Relations. Because of my approach, SQBC is great for conferees who are just beginning to think about writing all the way up to NYT best selling authors. We will have plenty of time for Q&A along the way AND I plan to add a bonus segment on Branding.
Also, anything you want to share about your upcoming two sessions on Saturday, “Book Promotion Basics” and “Using Social Media to Reach and Expand Your Audience?”
Suzy Kuhn: We will answer three crucial questions: So What? Who Cares? Why You? Join me on Saturday to find out.
I understand you launched your business ‘SuzyQ’ in 2010. Would you mind telling us a little about the inspiration behind starting your company?
Suzy Kuhn: I love this question! To answer, I’m taken down memory lane to reflect on the heart of SuzyQ … my inspiration. By the time I launched SuzyQ, I had been involved in all aspects of the retail side of the book industry for 20 years.
Because of my retail connection, I was able to meet NYT best selling author Karen Kingsbury. For a year, I traveled as part of Karen’s team to her arena events. When I joined her team, I was told her event book sales increased by 20%. That was my “ah-ha” moment. I realized that I could take what I had loved doing within the bookstore and pair it with what I loved about traveling with Karen to help all authors reach more readers and sell more books.
I would be remiss not to mention two key elements in the launch of SuzyQ … first, my husband Shawn was more convinced than I was and was truly the mastermind behind SuzyQ. Second, when I ran the idea by Karen she responded with this simple question, “Can I write your first endorsement?”
What is your favorite part of the business?
Suzy Kuhn: SuzyQ has changed and grown over the past 6 years, but the one element that has remained consistent is that we customize all we do to each particular client. Our clients are like snowflakes, not two are exactly alike.
What would you say has been the most challenging?
Suzy Kuhn: Manpower. The business side of things … billing, contracts, growth. There are so many more products and services at various pricepoints that I’d like to offer, but I run out of time and energy to implement many of these ideas.
And anything new on the horizon?
Suzy Kuhn: We are constantly brainstorming new ideas … it’s difficult to guess which idea will take form first.
I see from your web page that your business provides the ‘SuzyQ 360° Review.’ Would you mind telling us a little bit about that?
Suzy Kuhn: My husband Shawn, joined the SuzyQ in 2012, after closing his last privately owned regional bookstore. The ‘SuzyQ 360° Review’ was actually Shawn’s idea. When we begin working with a new client, it’s necessary for us to discover their digital footprint, brand and voice without the biased input of the client. Once we dig around to see what we discover, we provide feedback and recommendations via the ‘SuzyQ 360° Review.’
Would you say there is anything a client should do before they contact you? If yes, what would be the most important thing?
Suzy Kuhn: At the very least, a new client should have an idea of what they want to write and have some type of digital presence — social media, website, something.
What would be the most important after they contact you?
Suzy Kuhn: With coaching we give homework, the most important element is for our clients to do their homework.
I imagine you work with many clients and a variety of projects. If you could come up with your dream client and project, what would he/she and it look like?
Suzy Kuhn: My dream client is someone who is completely teachable … they check their preconceived notions at the door. My dream project … I love to act as a handler for my clients, accompanying them on book tours, speaking events, etc.
I understand you have over 20 years of book retailing and event sales.
Suzy Kuhn: You know, as I read that, I realized I’m now pushing 30 years in the book industry.
What’s one of your best experiences during that time?
Suzy Kuhn: I’d have to say meeting two of my personal favorite authors, Kristen Heitzmann and Adriana Trigiani.
What’s one of your most unusual?
Suzy Kuhn: Even though I mostly traveled from store to store during my time with the small chain of privately owned bookstores, I had a “regular customer” in one of the stores. Apparently, she shopped the store on a similar schedule as I visited.
I imagine with working with diverse clients you give extremely tailored advice which is based on what would work best for that particular client. If you had to give more generalized advice what would it be?
Suzy Kuhn: 1. Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.
2. Have fun. Enjoy the ride. You are brave, by not only living your dream but by living the dream of 81% of Americans.
On a personal note, do you ever get to read for fun and if yes, what do you like to read and why?
Suzy Kuhn: I rarely read for fun anymore, but when I do, I like fiction. Topping my favorite fiction would be anything new from my previously mentioned favorite authors or a new Disney mystery from one of my favorite clients, Jeff Dixon.
And last question, what is something no one has asked you but you wished they had?
Suzy Kuhn: Would you accept Disney dollars as a form of payment?
Thank you for taking the time out to answer some questions. We are looking forward to seeing you at the conference!
Suzanne Kuhn has more than 20 years of book retailing experience and event sales, including traveling as part of Karen Kingsbury’s team. In 2010 Suzanne launched SuzyQ, a full-service author promotion and retail development firm that works with authors, publishers and retailers, helping to coordinate events, train staff and authors in reader engagement, and develop promotions for increased sales and reader/customer loyalty. Suzanne’s experience and knowledge in the book retailing venue gives her an edge when consulting with retailers for niche and business plan development, facilitating book tours, and ensuring more successful and profitable events. Suzanne truly believes in the power of Christian literature to impact and change lives. Connect with Suzanne:
http://www.SuzyQ4U.com, on Facebook: SuzyQ4You or Twitter: @SuzyQn
Suzanne Kuhn will present a half-day seminar at the Write Stuff Conference:
Friday, April 8: 8:00 AM – 12:00 Noon “Author Promotion Boot Camp.”
Maximize your promotional efforts. Make the most of interactions by implementing a purposeful engaging strategy. No opportunity should be left to chance. Bring this approach to your social media and learn how to be more relevant to your audience in a manner that is stress-free and easy to incorporate into your already busy schedule. Discover how to appeal to retailers and take full-advantage of meeting a bookstore staff. Learn how engagement will encourage a bookstore to hand-sell your books and keep them in stock. After this intensive training, you will be equipped to seize opportunities, virtual and live.
Part1: Live Author Interaction
Part2: Putting the Social Back in Social Media
Part3: Understanding Retailers
Saturday, April 9: 9:50 – 10:40 AM “Book Promotion Basics”
If book promotion were easy, everyone would be doing it! In this workshop, Suzanne will help you answer the all important questions of So What? Who Cares? and Why You? Answering these three questions will help you identify who will read your book, an immediate plan of action, and action steps to carry out your promotion plan long term.
Saturday, April 9: 1:40-2:30 PM “Using Social Media to Reach and Expand Your Audience”
Suzanne will go behind the scenes to show you the secrets of crafting our social media so you reach your intended audiences. With so many ads, blurbs, and distractions within the social media realm, you need to learn how to funnel your audience’s attention and target the clients you need. The necessary tools are right at your fingertips. Join Suzanne and unlock the keys of effective social media.
Tammy Burke, GLVWG member, 2011 conference chair and past president, has published over 400 articles in daily newspapers, newsletters and regional magazines and is in the revision stage for her first YA fantasy adventure book, Uriah’s Window. When not writing, she works in the social service field, fancies herself a student of the fantastic and mundane, and is a fencing cadet and marshal in the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA).