Julie Trelstad is the director of digital rights at the literary agency Writers House, where she manages the agency’s self-publishing program and helps clients with online marketing.
She previously held positions at John Wiley & Sons, The Taunton Press, Readers Digest and Sterling Publishing, and started her own publishing venture, The Plain White Press, which was acquired by Fox Chapel Publishing in 2010.
Julie is a speaker at DBW 2017, where she will discuss how authors can expand their social media presence.
We spoke with Julie about her session at DBW, as well as where self-publishing is going and what marketing tactics authors must be using.
You are the director of digital rights at Writers House. What does your role entail?
My role is to handle the emerging digital aspects of the agency’s practice: self-publishing, helping our author-clients make sense of digital marketing, and working closely with digital publishing ventures that fall outside of the typical mainstream publishing models.
Where do you see self-publishing going? Will it continue to become a bigger part of the overall industry? Do you see self-published genre fiction eating away at some of traditional publishers’ revenue?
I think self-publishing extends the industry to reach readers that traditional publishing doesn’t necessarily reach. Successful self-publishers set themselves up in niches where there is opportunity. I couldn’t say if there is lost revenue, though downward pricing pressure hurts the overall profitability of genre fiction. I think it’s worth watching what self-published authors are doing as they are innovating in ways to reach new readers.
What online marketing tactics are indispensable for authors at any level?
Email newsletters! I believe that the bulk of author marketing effort should be toward capturing the email addresses of readers who can become long-term fans. Authors need to be strategic about how they can use inexpensive online tools to constantly grow their markets.
Your session at DBW 2017 is titled “Authors as Entrepreneurs: The Road from Amateur to Professional.” What sort of strategies and tactics will you be discussing?
We’ll be talking about the difference between showing up on social media as a private citizen versus as an author who wants to grow her audience. We’ll talk about how authors can look professional, how they can leverage social relationships with other authors and their publishers, and more!
What made you want to be a part of DBW 2017?
I’ve been attending DBW for years, and I’m always energized by the conversations I have and tidbits I learn that I can take back to the agents and clients.
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