JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Debra Owsley, owner of Simply Said Reading Accessories
Simply Said, Reading Accessories is a “Novel” approach to marking your words in a readerâ€™s heart and mind as well as holding their place. We custom-design and create keepsake â€œGift-Marksâ€, such as bookmarks and book thongs, note cards that we call â€œLove Notesâ€ and other promotional items for authors, book stores, book clubs and book lovers.
We design our hand-crafted treasures exclusively for you. I started this in 2005 as Christmas gifts to my clients, at the salon, and has turned into a business I never dreamed of.
Joey Pinkney: Many authors and readers think postcards and bookmarks when imagining book accessories. What do you do to offer with Simply Said Reading Accessories that goes above and beyond the mundane?
Debra Owsley: Bookmarks are an industry standard, but these “Gift-marks” are not the standard. They are keepsakes for your fans and your contacts. These are not throw away items. These souvenir type promotional tools are excellent marketing items that are designed with your fan base in mind.
When creating this product, all of your promotional and information is retained, giving that personal, hands-on touch. These Gift-marks are perfect for promotional and thank you gifts, giveaways, book signings, book events, release parties, contests, party favors and additions to your press packets
JP: You do more than just reading peripherals. What other services does your company offer to the author who is looking to take his or her book to the next level?
DO: I coach authors on how to promote their books on a tight budget. I help them brainstorm there way to a marketing plan that fits there pockets and niches.
I knew I was on the right track when I started to really look at the way the industry does business. Authors are not rich even though their works are. Most struggle because the advances and world wide tours left with Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
We fans hear of huge advances and see photos of authors all over the globe doing signings and guest appearances on TV. If your name is not Rowling, Grisham or Patterson, youâ€™re pretty much on your own. Even those lucky enough to be signed with a major house soon realize itâ€™s all about what YOU do because they wonâ€™t do much.
In listening and hearing and watching for the last few years, dealing with authors and their promotional needs, it dawned on me that you, the authors, are so wrapped up in the writing of your books that when it comes to promoting them: A – your clueless and B – youâ€™re broke.
No longer the days when you could sit back and live off your advance and royalty payments. You are now a marketer, a publicist, and an agent; AKA Book Pimp! This book is written for you to show how on a very tight and limited budget, how you can make things happen.
I am first and foremost a huge fan and avid reader. I am looking at things from a fans point-of-view, something that you may not be able to do. We fans look at things from totally different angles, ones you may have never thought of. So my hope in this offering is to help you see the forest, beyond the trees. I am telling you what fans want and how we see things. I am teaching you how we want to be treated, and best of all, doing it on a starving artist budgetâ€¦.
JP: What do you like most about that you do with Simply Said Reading Accessories? What do you find “more tedious”?
DO: What I love the most is the design process. I love creating that perfect piece for each individual. I find making them to be very therapeutic, and I love coming up with new designs. Iâ€™m work on a project now that is very challenging. The tedious part is getting it out of my head into an actual piece.
JP: What has been your most memorable experience with an author or a reader who has come into contact with your reading accessories?
DO: There have been so many. Iâ€™ve done custom work for several best selling authors such as Donna Hill, Rochelle Alers, Marcia King-Gamble, Noire, Cheryl Robinson, Dwan Abrams, L.A. Banks street team, Pat Gâ€™Orge Walker, LaConnie Taylor Jones, SORMAG, Marissa Monteilh, Pynk, Lutishia Lovely, Zuri Day, and this is just to name a few.
All have been memorable and defining moments for one reason or another. I guess the time Donna Hill called me and said â€œ Hi, this is Donnaâ€, Iâ€™m like, “Whoâ€¦” “Donna Hill”, she said, and I almost fainted! It blows my mind every time an author who Iâ€™ve been reading, some for years, contacts me. Itâ€™s a surreal moment.
I truly love coming up with personalized items to create the perfect feel. And I love when I get a phone call or an email from my clients saying I nailed it! I did a large order for LaConnie Taylor Jones. When she called to say she got her package, I thought she was upset because she was almost speechless. I was almost in tears. She then gathered herself and said â€œGirl, they are perfect! They are exactly what I wantedâ€ I was overjoyed.
There have also been times where the author did not â€œgetâ€ what I wanted to do. But when the order was received, a re-order was placed the same day
JP: What’s next for Debra Owsley and Simply Said Reading Accessories?
DO: Iâ€™m always looking for ways to expand and grow. I have several projects in the works that Iâ€™m extremely excited about, which is going to taking Simply Said Reading Accessories to another level. Iâ€™ll be adding several new items as well as new services. Stay tuned be subscribing to my site.
Simply Said Reading Accessories
A “novel approach* of making your mark