|Krista Rolfzen Soukup|
Last year around this time I was having dinner with my good writer-mama pal Mary in her Minnesota town and we bumped into some friends of hers. One of them was Krista Rolfzen Soukup. It was a brief meeting but I sensed a particular light in this gal and took note. When I learned through Mary that Krista has been helping her with promotion/publicity (and doing an exemplary job of it) I was not surprised. I also thought Krista’s insights on the need for writers to receive assistance in promotion of their work would make for a great topic on Peace Garden Writer. Please enjoy the following introduction and interview detailing Krista’s thoughts and how she came to start Blue Cottage Agency:
Krista defines her work as a literary publicist as someone who promotes books, authors and the literary arts in general. Her background is in business administration and marketing, and she loves marketing, events and promotions. Her own writing comprises the creation of press releases, work correspondence and an occasional letter to the editor in her community newspaper.
Q: How did you get started?
I have been in a book club since 2004. In 2009 we read Abercrombie Trail by Candace Simar and I loved it! Our book club contacted her and she actually came to our book club discussion. She mentioned that she needed someone to help market and promote her book. I called her up a few weeks later and told her I thought I could help her. Together we launched two more books and she is now North Star Press’s best-selling author and has been on regional best-seller lists.
I chose my company name, Blue Cottage Agency, for a couple of reasons. First of all I live in a blue cottage and I work from home. I live in the beautiful Brainerd Lakes area in Minnesota, so there is a lot of “blue” in my world. Secondly, early publishing houses were actually in houses, and cottages are a smaller version. A publicist in a bigger company can have 150 to 200 authors at a time. I like to specialize in local authors, smaller presses, out-state book tours, and a more personal approach to an author’s marketing strategy. There are so many amazing writers and regional books out there. It’s fun to help them be shared.
Q: Why would an author need a publicist?
Q: How is the book world changing, and do you feel dizzy from the changes, or are you eager to take it all on?
It’s an exciting time to be an author. More people are reading in more ways than ever before. We live in the information age; Kindles, I-Pads, social media and countless other factors are quickly changing how we consume information. Incredibly, the more available books become, whether in paper form or screen form, the more we want them. This new age also gives us more exciting ways to promote an author and their books.
There’s an abundance of talent in regional writers and small presses. It’s exciting to be able to showcase those books to more people than ever before because of the changes in the way our society is now communicating. By combining my love of reading (and complete amazement of talented writers) and my marketing skills, I am able to help authors find their way through a sometimes confusing world of publishing.
Q: How do you get ideas for the best ways to promote in today’s publishing climate?
My approach is individualized as opposed to a standard formula. Each book needs to find its own specific audience, its own community of readers. To develop a successful marketing plan, I continually do research on the market and keep in constant communication with my clients. New thoughts and ideas always emerge as a book is being promoted .
After graduating college with business and marketing degrees, I was a manager for a large department store company where I learned consumer behavior and promotion from a retail standpoint. I have spent many years in event planning, marketing and promotions for various community and school organizations and projects.
Q: What can an author who employs you expect from this relationship?
It is of the utmost importance to represent my clients in the most professional and respectful way possible. I am communicating and talking to people constantly on their behalf and I always strive to be a positive reflection of who they are.