Sara Reyes and Gwen Reyes
Author Marketing & Promotion Specialist, Fresh Fiction
WG: Welcome and thanks for stepping into my spotlight this month.
SR: Thank you for having us, Winnie.
GR: We're thrilled to be here!
WG: To start off, please tell us a bit about yourself.
SR: I started my marketing career as a marketing manager in the 1980s for American Airlines and I've always loved reading. So when it was time for me to start something new I realized blending my love of marketing and reading was a perfect fit. I started Fresh Fiction in 2004 and have never looked back.
GR: When I graduated from Sweet Briar College in 2006 I started working with Sara in the early stages of Fresh Fiction. In the springs I would take off for film festival work landing myself in sponsorship and guest services positions, but after three years doing that I wanted to take what I had learned and bring it home. I began writing film criticism and TV columns for papers and online, and eventually wanted to do that for myself and Fresh Fiction.
WG: Can you tell us why you decided to pursue a career as author marketing and promotion specialist, and what steps you took to get you where you are today?
SR: I've always loved reading romances and popular fiction and I could never understand why more people didn't want to talk about those genres in public, so in 1995 I founded a Dallas-based book club where anyone could talk about the romance novels they were reading. I applied my marketing skills to grow that book club from 10 strangers to over 500 readers.
GR: I grew up attending the book clubs with Sara and quickly learned that I loved planning the meetings and other book club events. When I went to college I booked bands and comedians for the school, allowing me to hone my event management skills. I knew there was a place at Fresh Fiction for author and reader events and wanted to make that happen for our city.
WG: What services do you provide to the busy author?
SR: We take care of directly connecting authors to our avid readers online and in person. Fresh Fiction does full-service marketing plans for authors that keep their books in front of readers.
GR: Want to set up a book signing but can't get traction with a store or you're e-only, I help make in-person gatherings happen for authors looking for different ways to reach readers. I also appear weekly on our Dallas ABC affiliate presenting book picks for viewers.
WG: What does your typical work day look like?
SR: When you own a business each day comes with a mixed bag of answering emails, planning promotional campaigns, communicating with readers, writing articles and columns, and keeping ahead of trends in the industry.
GR: Evenings are spent attending book clubs, signings, and advance movie screenings. Every once in awhile we spend time with our family and loved ones if we have a free night.
WG: Are you actively seeking new clients?
SR: We are always open to new clients and to helping our current clients reach new readers.
GR: I love working with authors to grow their base. A reader generation in our industry is four years, so there are always new eyeballs to attract.
WG: What is your favorite part of your job?
SR: Getting the best information about upcoming releases, new-to-me authors, and what's going on in the romance industry out to readers
GR: Working with my mom and our awesome team
WG: Your least favorite?
SR: Not having the time to read two books a day anymore
GR: In the past few years it has been dress code. I used to wear PJs to work all the time, but as we've grown so has my wardrobe. Now, comfy pants are for off hours.
WG: If you weren't doing this work, what other career would you have?
SR: I would still work in marketing somewhere
GR: If I wasn't here I would either still work in event management in some fashion or work with creatives as an entertainment lawyer
WG: What do you see as the main strength you personally bring to the table? And is there something you feel sets you apart from others who offer similar services?
SR: I pride myself on being accountable and accessible for all authors. I also strive to make the website and our in-person events inclusive and fun for everyone.
GR: I love people and talking with them about their passions, especially if they love books, movies, or TV. I'm always keeping abreast to what's out and think of myself as a tastemaker
WG: What type of author do you generally work with?
SR: Popular fiction authors who are professionals and dedicated to growing their brand.
GR: We work with traditional, indie, and hybrid authors, however we make sure they fit with our reader base.
WG: How does an author know if they need the services you provide?
SR: Do you have a book? Then you need marketing and creative, proven ways to get your book in the hands (or on the e-reader) of people.
GR: If they need help planning and managing an event where they can shine as an author, we are a great fit.
WG: What advice would you give an author who is considering hiring an author marketing and promotion service?
SR: You can always set up a call with us to ask your questions. We love touching base regularly and appreciate authors who have lots of questions.
GR: Know your release schedule and be ready to work. Just because you hire a specialist does not mean you will not have to do some work on your own. We walk you through it and coach you, but at the end of the day we work together.
WG: What sort of misconceptions/ unrealistic expectations have you encountered from authors about what your service can and can't do for them?
SR: The misconception most authors have is the realities of book purchases.
GR: If an author signs up with us we cannot guarantee how many books readers will purchase each time.
WG: I love to collect quotes, all kinds of quotes - inspirational, quirky, motivational, profound, etc. Do you have a personal favorite you'd like to share? (Feel free to expound (or not) on what it means to you and/or why you selected this particular quote)
SR: "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work" by Thomas Edison.
GR: I seek out motivation constantly (some days are hard!), so I actually receive tweets throughout the day with inspiring sayings to keep me focused, excited, and ready to win!
WG: What do you do to relax and have fun?
SR: We love to travel and almost always mix our business trips with some side excursions. My son is huge foodie and can find the best restaurant in any city we visit.
GR: I try to make time to unwind with my friends and boyfriend whenever possible. We play board games, go on adventures, or marathon a new TV show.
WG: What do you enjoy reading?
SR: I like the classics: Jayne Ann Krentz, J.D. Robb, and Loretta Chase. I enjoy thrillers from Daniel Silva and Lee Child, but I'll pick up anything that piques my interest
GR: I'm a big fan of anything by Meg Cabot and Christina Lauren. I also love discovering new authors that are a bit weird like Emma Cline.
WG: What are your favorite movies and/or TV shows? Why?
SR: Right now my three loves are: "Roadies" because it is about a family of misfits working together to keep a band on tour, "BrainDead" on CBS because it shows what happens when politics run amuck, and "The Night Manager" on AMC because it is the perfect blend of intrigue and sex that I like.
GR: I also love "Roadies" but can't pull myself away from USA Network's "Mr. Robot." My life begins and ends with that show. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" on The CW is also a gem and shows the many faces and manifestations of anxiety in women's lives.
WG: Is there a website you can point us to where folks can go to learn more about you?
SR: Sure, anyone can visit FreshFiction.com to see all we do.
GR: Don't forget FreshFiction.TV for movie and TV show reviews and interviews. We are kind of full throttle here.
WG: And finally, thanks again for taking some time to 'stop by' this month!