Rachel Reynolds is a special educator and freelance writer. She currently serves as the principal of the Dominion School, operated by Commonwealth Autism Service. You can find her writing at Richmond Mom,Hello Grief, Richmond Magazine, the webzine Insert Eyeroll, and her personal blog, See What You Meme. She is also the co-founder and executive director of CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation (CJSTUF). In 2012, Rachel was awarded the Eagle Rare Life Award for Courage.
Rachel lives in Ashland, Virginia with her husband and two incredibly annoying (but completely adorable) cats. In her spare time, she obsesses over Don Draper, dark chocolate, and public radio personalities (not necessarily in that order).
How have you been able to use social media (Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.) to help market your book?
I am constantly connected to social media. I share my blog posts and other freelance writing assignments with my personal and “fan” pages on Facebook and Twitter and that provides an easy way for friends and acquaintances to share my story with others. I have done two Goodreads book giveaways and that allowed me to share my story with a whole new audience as well.
Do you have any advice for new authors looking to promote themselves on these sites?
It is important to communicate frequently with fans. They don’t want to see a post every few weeks. You have to remember that it’s a conversation. I sometimes ask questions or post interesting pictures and quotes instead of just promoting my latest book signing or appearance.
What type of writing routine do you have? Any tips you can share about it?
I like to work out blog posts or articles I’m working on while I walk. I can work out a great 500 word essay during a brisk 3 mile stroll. The fresh air gives me time away from electronic distractions and helps me focus. Also, I always edit my writing at least twice before I send it for publication.
How has it been trying to balance your writing with your day job and/or family life? Is there anything you would change?
This is a big challenge for me. I love writing and sharing my story with others. I have lots of things waiting to be written, including another book. I just need the time to do it. I also love my “day job”. I’m the principal of a day school for children with autism. While I love the job, it takes a lot of my time. Balancing book related appearances and writing events with a full time job takes some creative arrangement. If I could have the best of both worlds, I would work four days a week at my school job and have three days each week to devote to writing.
What types of books do you read? How do you think they have influenced your writing?
My bookshelf is full of variety. I love to read true stories (biographies or memoirs) and I am sure that had a profound impact on my work with Four Seasons for Charlotte. I also love character driven novels. My favorite books range from Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut to Watership Down by Richard Adams to anything written by Carl Hiaasen or Dave Barry. I love the dark side of humor. I love witty banter. I love stories with a deeper meaning (i.e., allegories or stories fraught with symbolism). I would say that all of these elements influence my writing but also my personality.