Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Author, Interviewer, and Book Reviewer Joey Pinkney

1)      Welcome to The Writer’s Block! Tell us a little bit about your background.

My name is Joey Pinkney. I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. I've always had a great love of books. I've loved to read since being encouraged by my parents at a very early age. I love to read and write. I'm a much more active reader than writer, but I hope to change that in the near future.

2)      How did get your start as a book reviewer?

The first book review that was published was Explicit Content by Black Artemis. I was writing for The Urban Journal, a now-defunct newspaper. At the time, The Urban Journal was the widest circulated Black owned and operated independent newspaper in metropolitan Nashville, TN. I was hired to write the obituary column, town hall meetings, police reports - the boring stuff.

I continually pitched to the publisher to allow me to write about books by black authors and other current media events outside of Nashville. Although he claimed that was outside of the interests of the people who read his paper, people used to email me and tell me in person that they really enjoyed the new features. All the while, I was on the internet hunting down authors to email about a potential review.

I moved from Nashville and continued to ask authors for books to review. I worked with and as a freelance book reviewer. I had a wonderful stint at both operations.

I eventually began to work more on building my brand and centralizing my book reviews. I branched out into author interviews because the number of books to be reviewed became overwhelming. At one point, I was getting like 2 to 3 books a week, if not more. The 5 Minutes, 5 Questions With... Author Interview Series was born in late August 2008 and has grown tremendously since then.

3)      What can we expect to find on What is your mission?

Books, books and more books. I've heard people say that it looks cluttered. So does a library until you know what you are looking for and where you can find it, right?

You will find a constantly updating work in progress. I'm constantly adding new author interviews from authors of all kinds of backgrounds and genres. My core audience is African-American authors from various genres from Christian Fiction to Urban Lit to Poetry to Erotica. I'm starting to gain an international following, which is bringing in interest from authors from Ireland, the U.K. and even Australia!

I have close to 500 author interview on If you are a reader, this is a resource to find authors and books you may have never heard of but need to add to your collection. If you are a writer, this author interview series oozes with practical marketing and writing experiences to add to your arsenal as a published author.

4)      How have authors benefited from exposure on your site?

There are a dozen ways that authors benefit from being on Here are 6:

(1) Since I've been doing this for 3 1/2 years, I have tons of repeat visitors that stop by to see what's the latest addition. Many of these repeat visitors are readers looking to buy the next interesting book to satisfy their literary appetites.

(2) I have 200+ Google Connect readers who get notifications or the full posts emailed to their inbox when I update That's a direct connection to a potential reader since most people are attached to the email accounts.

(3) I use the NetworkedBlogs service to syndicate my blogs updates. When I post a new interview, it hits the inbox of the 100+ people who have signed up to receive updates. Plus, it goes to my Facebook wall.

(4) Google usually archives my author interview posts within an hour of me posting it. Readers googling for an author's name or book title will find my interview high in the search ranking, usually on the first page.

(5) I send out social media updates 24/7 to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other websites. On Twitter alone, I have over 42,000 followers. Many of those followers are authors and readers who RT (retweet aka resend my updates) to their followers, so the exposure goes viral.

(6) I create interview trailer videos, currently free, for the author interview and books reviews and post them on YouTube and send the link to the various social media website to added exposure. Some people are visually-oriented, so videos catch their attention more than just reading status updates.

Being on has resulted in book sales, speaking engagements, book club invites, blog talk radio invites, publishing connection, etc. With anything dealing with marketing, results will vary, but for the most part, has a healthy amount of specific traffic geared towards connecting readers and writers.

5)      Are you a published author/contributor?

Yes, I am. I contributed the short story "Like Father, Like Son" to the The Soul of a Man: A Triumph of My Soul Anthology (2009), I contributed the Kindle-winning short story, "Maxine" to the Short Story Kindle Competition Compilation (2010), I was granted a cameo appearance in Psycho (2011), I was profiled in I Am Royalty: Profiles in Black History, Vol. 3 (2011) and most recently, I contributed to Gumbo For The Soul: Men of Valor (2012).

6)      Tell us about your current projects and what is next for you in 2012.

I am working on a few writing projects while keeping fresh content updated on I hope to have a few books published by the end of 2012. Stay tuned.

7)      What marketing strategies would you say are the most successful for new authors?

One key strategy that most authors take advantage of is having a website: central command. When somebody asks you, as an author, where to find more about you, the last thing you want to say is Facebook or Twitter or MySpace. You want to send them to your headquarters, not the spot you're renting. Even worse, I've seen authors that have no website. That's a no-go. I've even seen an author that had a website that was mistakenly misspelled.

In terms of things that work, keep writing. Having a constant stream of novels, novellas and anthology contributions will generate the best form of marketing of them all - word-of-mouth. Having a blog that keeps your readers updated with relevant information about you, your writing, etc. That will keep your core audience engaged.

Be willing to invest in advertising and other things that will expose you to your audience. If you don't have the money, get ready to spend the time. Build your presence with readers on Twitter and Facebook. Join Goodreads and Shelfari and participate in the groups.

Get reviews from reputable sources. Encourage the people you know have bought and read your book to leave reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Goodreads, etc.

8)     What advice would you give to budding writers?  

These two thing are going to seem contradictory. If you can find the happy medium, you will be closer to success: 1) If you are writing a book you hope to sell, write with your target market in mind. Know who they are, where you can find them and what they want to read. 2) While you are writing your book, don't worry about who is going to read it. Write it to get it done so you can move on to other projects.

About Joey:

Joey Pinkney is an award-winning author and award-winning book reviewer. He is best known for the 5 Minutes, 5 Questions With... Author Interview Series, featuring over 475 author interviews and book reviews.


  1. Wow, Raychelle! This is an honor and a pleasure. I hope the insight I provide sparks readers and writers into action. Thank you do much for the opportunity!

    1. Joey, I learn something from every interview that I do, and yours is certainly no exception. The pleasure is all mine. The practical advice you offer is exactly what I want to share with others who put the pen to the paper. You agreed to the interview with no hesitation though we have never met. For a newbie like me, that is an honor all in itself. Keep doing what you do!


  2. Awesome advice! I've recently began online stalking Mr. Pinkney and have learned a lot! Thanks for the interview!