Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interview with Cedar Fort Marketing Director- Kirt Forakis

I'd like to welcome Kirt Forakis and thank him for taking the time to answer my questions. He is the new Marketing Director for Cedar Fort Publishing and has important insights into the author and publisher relationship regarding marketing. While this information is specific to Cedar Fort, it may also be useful to others of you working with a different publisher.

Steve: Please tell us something you are normally too shy or humble to admit about yourself.

Kirt: I won Utah state champion in physics and represented Utah in Nationals and was on the Deans list almost every semester in college.

Steve: As Marketing Director, how will your marketing experience strengthen Cedar Fort as a publisher?

Kirt: Cedar Fort wants to get more involved with social media and gorilla marketing and I have seen success using both methods. I will help Cedar Fort expand their marketing avenues using proven methods and creative thinking.

Steve: How has your previous experience prepared you for this new role?

Kirt: First, I love marketing and advertising. It is a passion for me and I never stop learning or trying new ideas. Second, I have a lot of experience. I have used almost every advertising method I can find and have used several different ad campaigns and designs. Tracking is also important to me and I have tracked most the campaigns I have run. I have a good idea of what types of advertising tends to work and what does not. I have experience organizing and managing events, giveaways, websites, social media outlets, design teams, customer service, PR and media relations.

Steve: What is your marketing philosophy?

Kirt: In short, marketing needs to generate results and wow your audience. I believe you need to capture the attention of your audience within a few seconds and from there have a call to action that creates a direct response, preferably a purchase. From there, it needs to be as easy as possible to move from the advertisement or media to the decision making and purchasing phase.

Steve: What should writers expect from the publisher in terms of marketing effort?

Kirt: We will be using our experience and creativity to help authors reach their audience and reach their goals. Authors are the best marketing tools and so our goal is to teach them and give them direction in their efforts. We will work with authors throughout the entire process to help create a marketing plan and other materials that will be useful to make their book successful.

Steve: What should the author do personally to market their work?

Kirt: Everything they can! A publisher can only do so much and go so far. The author holds the keys and can make the difference between an average selling book and a top seller. Authors need to finish two important steps for their book to sell well. First, write a great book and second, do a great job marketing it. We will be producing an author training packet that will outline what an author can and should be doing to market their book that will contain details, examples, tips and screen shoots. Again, we will be here to help along the way and get authors started in the right direction.

Steve: What is your vision for marketing LDS based fiction and non-fiction in the LDS community?

Kirt: This will depend on the demographics for the book. There are several ways to market a book and first you start with “who” you are going to market to. Once you know the “who”, then we can plan the “how”. There are several LDS websites, blogs and social media sites that appeal to certain markets and we will find the ones that work for individual books. We already work with some LDS based media and authors are encouraged to find more places to talk about and discuss there books.

Steve: What is your vision for marketing Non LDS based fiction and non-fiction regionally and nationally?

Kirt: Again, this depends on the “who”. We have several media outlets for national and regional, but the genre of the book with direct the process further. For example, we will focus cookbooks to media that involves cooking in general. The author is advised to seek out any form of media related to their book and contact them. Some will request the publisher to contact them and we will contact corporate in such cases. Using marketing material will help your chances of getting on these media outlets such as reviews and press releases. These items should be thought through and included in the marketing plan.

Steve: What should every author understand about the marketing process at Cedar Fort?

Kirt: First, we need to start getting support material such as reviews, press releases, endorsements and so forth. These will be useful for creating buzz and initial sales. It is good to talk with authors over the phone or in person to make sure we understand each other and establish a good working relationship. Second, we will put together a marketing plan that outlines the “who” and the “how” for the book. It will include an outline and details for dates, goals and possibilities that need explored by the authors and by us. Social media will need to be set up and authors will need to be interactive on them to generate followers. The authors will then start plans for a launch event, book signings and interviews. We are here to help. We will work with corporate and other places where an author can get stuck such as Deseret Book and Barnes and Nobel. Training material is being created as fast as we can and will be a valuable resource for authors for a step by step of the marketing process.

Thanks Kirt. I look forward to seeing the Author Training Packet.


  1. The most disappointing aspect to Mormon publishing IMHO, is the strangle-hold that the Church publishing arm has on this area. Since DeseretBook has gobbled up most of their competitors, they own the every-day, regular member of the church. And they don't generally offer books published outside of their world. Even MormonTimes (the biggest blog that regular members of the church look at) is moving back under the wing of DeseretNews.

    I say this because, if I wanted to pick up books generally considered for Whitney awards, I'm not going to find them at DeseretBook.... How do we get LDS Authors Marketed to the general mormon audience? that's the question I want to know... how do we get DeseretBook to start carrying these titles....

    David Farland's Book In the Company of Angels, should be required reading for every mormon family, it is that good.. but you won't find it at DeseretBook.....

    There is a good 3-part blog series about this issue at motley vision

  2. I hear you, Shawz Family, and agree. Kirt, fascinating stuff and I look forward to receiving the Author package and finding out what else I can do to promote my books. Steve, thanks for this blog, it was really helpful and interesting.

  3. DB is definitely the gorilla but I am glad publishers like Cedar Fort exist to offer some competition. You can still find books like Defensive Tactics in DB, on their websites and occassionally on their catelog.

  4. Great interview. Physics to advertising? Interesting!

  5. I am new at this and have just made my first submission to Cedar Fort for their Mother's Day publications to be released in 2012. Anything I can learn from these interviews is more than helpful. Thanks so much.