Fast Chat Friday: Liz Nakazawa

I'm happy to kick off the first edition of Fast Chat Friday, a series of informal end-of-week interviews with writers, publishers, editors and other creatives. This week, you can win a free consultation with book marketing coach Liz Nakazawa. Simply enjoy the chat, then add your name and a comment to be entered in the drawing.

Portland writer and editor Liz Nakazawa is the owner/founder of Market My Books, a firm offering book marketing strategies and coaching. A freelance writer since 1984, Liz has published numerous articles on a variety of subjects. Her work has appeared in Oregon Business Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Psychology Today, Fitness Magazine, and Northwest Travel. In addition, for ten years she was freelance writing instructor at Portland Sate University.

Liz’s book publishing and promoting career began by publishing of her own work, Deer Drink the Moon: Poems of Oregon, which was named one of the 150 books for the Oregon Sesquicentennial.

Let’s talk first about book marketing. What can you offer authors that they can’t do themselves?

I help authors think outside the "bookstore box" and help them discover different approaches to marketing. For instance, one of my clients wrote a book about the importance of fathers in our lives and he markets mainly to Rotary Clubs all over Oregon. That is his target market as those clubs are very family oriented.

What’s the best thing authors can do to get readers to their book?

The best approach for authors is to do one thing every day to market their book, their gift to the world. There isn't one best approach. Marketing needs to be done on many levels. It is great to market to bookstores but there are 144,000 libraries in the U.S. and that is a huge market. In my classes I discuss the best way to approach libraries. In addition to public libraries there are also academic libraries, prison libraries and many other kinds of libraries.

I like your idea of a strategic plan. In terms of marketing, is there a common miss or mistake you see authors make? Conversely, is there a brilliant move you'd like to see more?

There are two marketing mistakes authors make. One is thinking that you have to spend a lot of money marketing. Many authors spend hundreds of dollars sending slick, multi-page marketing materials to libraries and bookstores by snail mail, a costly decision. A one-page book sheet done as a PDF suffices. This can be then be sent to any prospective buyer. The other mistake is underestimating how interested libraries and bookstores will be in your book. Many libraries, for instance, love local authors and are eager to purchase your book. Do not give it away for free!

As a book editor, you created Deer Drink the Moon, a wonderful collection of work by 33 Oregon poets that “celebrates the state (and state of mind) of Oregon.” How did you come to this project, and to poetry?

I attended a poetry reading honoring our state's late poet laureate, William Stafford. Someone read a very wet-sounding poem, an ocean poem, and then someone read a very dry sounding poem, one set in eastern Oregon. At that moment I thought, "Why not gather poems that reflect the geography, flora and fauna of our diverse state" These poets in the book are finest in the state.

What’s your next project?

My next project is to write a one-act play about a family dealing with Alzheimer's. I know, that is a very different sort of project!

Win a free consultation with book marketing coach Liz Nakazawa. To enter the drawing, simply add your name and a comment below. Or, send a quick email to The winner will be randomly selected and announced next week— on Friday, January 15.