February Authors Forward interview with Tracy Badua and Laura Taylor Namey
Welcome to our Authors Forward series, where our innovative and talented Books Forward authors interview other great, forward-thinking voices in the industry.
I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to connect with contemporary young adult hard-hitter Laura Taylor Namey. As an author new to this space, I’m always looking for tips and tricks on connecting with readers and balancing writing and book promotion. Laura offers plenty of actionable advice on these, as well as some insight into her writing snacks and books to look out for.
Has your approach to book promo evolved since your debut? If so, what would you tell your newbie-author self to do 1) more of and 2) less of?
Now that I’m beginning promotion for my fourth title, I focus more on just having fun with the attributes, tropes, characters, and items in my story. I love to pull from story content to engage and tease the reader, and that could be anything from showing pictures of key places and foods in the book, to making little quizzes, or pairing characters and situations with songs from my playlist. For debuts, I’d say do what it organically pleasing to you, and efforts should match your personality type. If you don’t love writing guest blog posts, focus your time and attention on Canva graphics, or photos, or TikTok videos. The best promotion is natural, a little personal, and truly lets the reader inside the world of your books, and maybe your author-world at times. Have fun! You’ve written a book, and it’s time to celebrate it!
Your social media is full of humor, authenticity, and helpful tidbits for fellow writers. What’s your top tip for balancing this engaging social media presence, writing, and everything else?
First of all, thank you so much. And I wouldn’t say that I’ve achieved that perfect sense of balance yet, but I’m trying. I tend to draft in the morning and when I’m drafting a new book, my promotion efforts usually decrease a bit. I do try to save a few afternoons a week to make social media content, or work on preorder gifts, or to chat with readers. My biggest tip is to try to knock out work or tasks as soon as possible when they show up in your in-box. There will always be another task, and while this might not be feasible for some, I find that it keeps me moving forward.
You have a magical way of making readers hungry, whether it’s for homemade guava pastelitos or bacon cheeseburgers from Hodad’s. If you could choose a meal from any of your books for dinner tonight, what would it be?
I would love a Cuban sandwich from Porto’s Bakery and a pastelito de guyaba on the side. A little note, when I was drafting A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, my family would run out and supply my cravings for these things because I was writing about them so much.
What books are you looking forward to this year?
Two of my beloved critique partners have books coming out in a few months, and they’re both amazing titles. Do not miss THE OTHER SIDE OF INFINITY by Joan F. Smith and THE UNSTOPPABLE BRIDGET BLOOM by Allison L. Bitz.
Laura Taylor Namey is the New York Times bestselling author of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, a Reese Witherspoon YA Book Club pick, as well as A British Girl’s Guide to Hurricanes and Heartbreak, When We Were Them, and The Library of Lost Things. A proud Cuban American, she can be found hunting for vintage treasures and wishing she was in London or Paris. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two children.
Ellen Whitfield is senior publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.