Community Member Q&A: Stephanie Barko

Stephanie Barko’s award-winning clients include traditional publishers and their authors, small presses, and independently published writers. She promotes nonfiction & historical fiction exclusively.
Stephanie Barko is also a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read her interview below to find out more about her company.
Web-Stephanie_Barko-4699Scribe: You were in high tech marketing before becoming a literary publicist. What drew you to the publishing industry?
Stephanie Barko: An editor in a writing circle I frequented ten years ago noticed that I had a keen interest in promoting the group’s writers. Later that year I realized that there always seemed to be something I was promoting, even as a kid. When I looked for a post-corporate professional direction, the dynamic nature of the publishing industry felt exciting to me. Indie publishing was barely getting started and I was curious to see how it would play out.
Writers and professionals I knew in the publishing industry embraced a cooperative business model and that appealed to me too.
Scribe: What do you like most about working with authors?
SB: I’ve always loved working with creatives. I like the author who trusts my advice and appreciates my results. Likewise, I expect authors to deliver solid craft. Authors like to work with people who appreciate their writing, and publicists like to work with authors who appreciate their messaging.
Scribe: What do you see are the one or two biggest challenges facing authors today who are working to market their books and attract a readership?
SB: The first challenge I see is the bounty of competition out there in any given subcategory, and the second challenge is motivation. Competition can be dealt with using clever positioning, but motivation is personal. The motivation it takes to connect with readers, on top of everything else an author is expected to do, is significant. However, when an author’s motivation to connect is present and genuine, you will see a loyal band of followers trailing behind that author.
Scribe: What’s your biggest piece of advice for meeting these challenges?
SB: Get help with book marketing so you can keep writing and do the things that only you can accomplish, like autographing books and appearing in chat rooms.
Scribe: You’ve recently created an app called DIY Book Platform to help new authors market their book. What motivated you to create this and how does it work?
SB: I created DIY Book Platform to help writers who could not afford to work with me. I wanted writers on a tight budget to have a quick and easy way to document their own platform. DIY Book Platform is an interactive web-based app. With the app’s help, authors answer questions that illustrate a forum and following for their upcoming release.
Authors pay $99 for 45 days of access to 49 questions. Although some authors get through the sequence in a single session, there’s plenty of time and helpful notes to support writers along. At the end, users download, print, and then use the platform they’ve created to acquire an agent or publisher.
Scribe: Pick one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down.
SB: Mayhem:  Three Lives of a Woman by Elizabeth Harris
Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?
SB: Not every state has a statewide writing association, but Texas does. An organization like WLT can provide a sense of comradery and shared purpose. The way I see it, WLT and Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist are united in keeping Texas authors in the spotlight at state and national levels.
Thanks, Stephanie!
Click here to visit Stephanie Barko’s website.
Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?
Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers’ League’s membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click here or call our office at (512) 499-8914.

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