Interview with Stephanie Barko

Stephanie Barko, is a Literary Publicist based in Austin. Upon completing her degree in Sociology and Business, Ms. Barko was invited into the publishing industry after many years in high tech marketing. She was voted Preditors & Editors Best Book Promotion Service in 2011. Her award-winning clients include traditional publishers and their authors, small presses, and independently published authors. Visit with Stephanie at www.stephaniebarko.com.Image

Stephanie Barko (left) and a fan


After visiting your website, I learned about your success with both historical fiction and nonfiction publicity. Tell us more about a specific genre that you enjoy most working with.

Well, fiction sells better and is easier to place but I read nonfiction, so I feel closer to it.  Historical fiction tells a story but in a factually correct way.  I like that because you can learn from the novel, like you can nonfiction. I, personally, read almost exclusively nonfiction.  Fiction feels like candy to me, but historical novels have the weight of reality in them like nonfiction does.

Do you think that our internet age has made the job of a literary publicist a little difficult?

The internet has made my job easier, not harder.  I can reach more people quicker and more efficiently.  One could even argue that it’s cheaper to market online.

What got you interested in working with the spiritual subject matter?

The end of the Mayan calendar and the pivotal changes all the way through 2012 led me to declare a special subject focus last year.

On Feb 16th, you will be teaching a course titled, Trendspotting Toward a Faithful Following.  What are some things that you would expect the participants to take away from your course?

It’s a class that gets authors thinking about what they already have, not in terms of talent but in terms of marketing power.  Each participant will find unique answers to questions they have in common. I would like the participants to, most importantly, have a better sense of who their following is.

What are some things that make you love being a literary publicist?

The thing I like most about what I do is that I get to write and work with words all day. The write to evoke a particular response.  My job is asking people to do what I want them to do because they want to do it.

What is your core business philosophy?

Work smarter.  If you’re working harder, you’re probably not working smart enough.

What are some examples of books that you think have exhibited intelligent marketing techniques?

The Harry Potter rollouts always fascinated me.  A historical novelist I marketed hired actors to play the English royals in her novels at her launches.  That was exciting and sold books.  People came for the performance.

Ms. Barko has presented on book marketing & publicity at Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference, DFW Writers Conference, Writers’ League of Texas Conference and Women Writing the West Conference. Her articles and book reviews have been published in Western American Literature, Roundup Magazine, Book Marketing Matters, San Francisco Book Review, and the Texas Book Marketing Directory. She will be teaching a course, which is titled, Trendspotting Toward a Faithful Following. The course will be taught on Feb 16, at St. Edwards College.

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