Spotlight on Writer Natasha Yim

Natasha (Carter) Yim is a busy 49-year-old wife, mother of three children (ages 12, 10 and 6), and writer. How does she do it all? “Mostly, I give up sleep,” she says.

Her sacrifice has paid off. Her book Cixi, The Dragon Empress is one of six books in Goosebottom Books’ series The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Dastardly Dames, which garnered an Independent Publisher Books Silver Award in the Multi-Cultural Nonfiction Teen-Young Adult category. The American Library Association also named the same series in its Top Ten Nonfiction Series for Youth list.

Make no mistake; this woman is a seasoned writer. She began to write for publication in the 1980s and her portfolio now includes poetry, short stories, books, plays, and nonfiction articles that range in topics from AIDS to how to eat dim sum in a Chinese restaurant.

She’s a versatile writer!

In addition to the above books, she published Otto’s Rainy Day, her first book. She also has completed Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas and Sacajawea of the Shoshone (part of the The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Real  Princesses series), which is for children between the ages of 9 and 13.

Goldy Luck, she says, is her “poster child” for perseverance. “It was a nine-year journey with one year of actual writing, four editors with various revisions, and several years of submitting and waiting for responses.” Now she’s waiting for the publisher to decide on an illustrator.

It’s all part of the journey, she says. “When you work with a publisher, the process can take longer, but it’s doable.” Several editors passed up her book Goldilocks and the Three Pandas (originally titled Goldilocks and the Three Chans). It wasn’t until an Asian editor saw it and loved that Natasha found a publisher for it.

Despite having an agent – Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary – and a publisher, Natasha relies on her own resources for publicity. Her publishers carry the cost of printing her bookmarks, flyers and arranging for reviews. However, Natasha manages her
Facebook pages, LinkedIn and Twitter (@natashayim) accounts, and website and blog, which she started in 2006.

She has had some success with Facebook ads by targeting Asian countries and teachers. Natasha optioned up to $35 for a Facebook ad (Facebook charges advertisers for each “click”) and over the course of one month, her number of Facebook fans soared from 10 to 280.

GoodReads is another online venue she uses. She experimented with giving away a book for free and 980 people signed up. “I only gave one book away but now 1000 people are familiar with my books.”

In the blogosphere, she’s trying out tours. Natasha debuted on a blog tour with another author last November but she decided to organize her own blog tour for the debut of her latest book this fall. So far, she plans to have between six and 10 “stops.”

It can be difficult to assess which marketing method sells the most books, she admits. She thinks she sells more books when she makes a personal connection at a reading. “People are more interested in your books when they hear you talk and can connect the name of a book to a writer,” she says.

What advice does she give her writing community? “Never give up because it is a long haul and if you want to be published by a traditional publisher, it will take a while. Know that rejection is part of that process and don’t let that derail you.”

Attend writing conferences and events where agents and publishers will be in attendance, she says. In addition, remember that sometimes it’s just “the luck of the draw.”

Just don’t give up.

About the Author: Sonoma County social media marketer, strategist and trainer, Frances Caballohas 22 years of communications experience. She helps writers, businesses and nonprofits with their social media and public relations needs. Presently, she is the Social Media Editor, board vice president and blogger for Redwood Writers, the largest branch of the California Writers Club, and the Director of the Sonoma County Book Festival. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

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