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Tamara Dever Lands the ‘Ideal’ Interview for Her Book, I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie

Thursday, August 20, 2020   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Christopher Locke
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When independent publishers are promoting a new book, it’s smart to have media outlets in mind that not only have a sizable reach but also have the most relevant audience for that book’s subject matter. TLC Book Design’s Founder Tamara Dever obtained that perfect opportunity when she landed an interview on former MTV VJ Martha Quinn’s iHeart80s radio show.

IBPA spoke to Tamara about how she landed that ideal interview opportunity, how other indie publishers can land their own ideal marketing opportunities, and much more!

IBPA: How did the interview on Martha Quinn’s iHeart80s radio show @ 103.7 come to be?

Tamara Dever (TD): It was the Saturday of what should’ve been IBPA’s Publishing University and I was mourning what could’ve been while scrolling through social media. In addition to being a sponsor and presenter, my plan was to launch I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie that weekend.

While scrolling the Twitter feed, I saw someone had retweeted that THE Martha Quinn was going to host a Facebook live event the next day, so I went to her Facebook page to learn more. She stated that she was doing a “group hug” live event to bring up people’s spirits as COVID-19 was starting to affect the country. I rarely comment on celebrity posts, but I stated that her idea was fun and that she looked amazing. She wrote back immediately saying that she wanted to delve into a topic that’s pure fun. Contemplating whether I should mention my book, I took a deep breath and told her I’d just released a music quiz book for the same reason. I didn’t want to plug it and have her think I was just looking for free PR. To my amazement, she asked questions about it, so I giddily gave her my URL. She checked out the book’s web page and within a few minutes wrote, “Girl you need to call me on iHeart80sRadio and shout your book out…!” She gave me her email address and we ironed out the details over the next several days.

As it all unfolded, I sat in my home office completely freaking out in disbelief, then ran to tell my husband, and called my best friend, all while jumping up and down. I kept saying, “You’re never going to believe this,” but it was really me that couldn’t believe it. The kids thought I had finally truly lost my mind!

IBPA: Why was this radio show such a good fit for your book?

TD: Martha is one of the original MTV VJs and was once voted “MTV’s best-ever VJ.”

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie is an entertaining trivia and quiz book for people who love ’70s and ’80s music and the world of books. Martha’s morning show is one major place my readers hang out. In addition to being a San Francisco Bay area station, it streams worldwide. Her show is the morning drive-time, so simply ideal.

IBPA: Where can people listen to your interview on the show?

TD: I have just one video my friend took while it aired that’s posted in the videos section at

IBPA: Martha Quinn also gave you an endorsement for the book. How did that come about?

TD: After we recorded the interview, I sent a thank you email and took another chance by asking if she’d be willing to endorse the book. She sent one within minutes and it was perfect (see below)! I later followed up by snail-mailing a thank you card branded to match the book.

“Tamara Dever's combination of music with fun puzzles is a stellar duo, like Run DMC and Aerosmith! Get to and READ This Way!”

– Martha Quinn, original MTV VJ and host of The Martha Quinn Morning Show, iHeart80s @ 103.7 KDSF

IBPA: Can you explain how this book started from all the songs you’ve been rewriting and playing at IBPA Publishing University for the last few years?

TD: Last fall, as I began to prep for this year’s conference, I realized that I now had a collection of 23 reimagined songs and somehow found myself researching how much of this music was influenced by books, making up quizzes and crossword puzzles, and having a lot of fun adding both silly and interesting facts and activities to those pages of lyrics. Of course, the design was half of the fun and by early this spring, I had a 112-page book ready to release. It sort of just happened—like rewriting those songs. When you’re doing something you love, it takes you along for the ride and you don’t fight it.

IBPA: Can you share three marketing tips for other indie publishers?


  1. If you believe in your book’s message, you have the ability to reach others who will believe in it, too. If you don’t, nothing you do will be enough. Let your passion be contagious!

  2. Don’t be afraid to be different when marketing, but be sure what you do will be relatable to your audience. I used to be a little embarrassed by the cheesiness of my songs, but I’ve now fully embraced them. They’re meant to be silly and bring laughter and my readers appreciate that. If someone doesn’t get it, they’re simply not part of my target audience.

  3. Dedicate yourself to being a friend and servant to your potential readers. My mission is to bring them nostalgia and laughter. When I post something from my book online, I feel like I’m reaching out to a friend or long-lost classmate, not making a sales pitch. I want to bring moments of levity to their day. If I can do that for a few moments online, maybe they’ll want more and eventually buy my book.

IBPA: One of the biggest issues facing independent publishers right now is the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. Now that we are a few months into this crisis (with no clear end in sight), can you share advice for other independent publishers about how they can weather the impact of the health crisis on their businesses?

TD: I don’t have any monumental advice for other publishers, as I’m pretty new at this myself. I’m a book designer in “real” life. What I do know is that an author has information to share with others and a book just happens to be the way you deliver that. In this climate, people still want that information, so continue to reach out via blogs, social media, videos—whatever will reach your specific readers online. Be real and be sincere. Though the first half of the year was slow, our book design business has been blessed with a steady amount of business this summer and we’re super grateful.

IBPA: How has it been beneficial to you to be a member of Independent Book Publishers Association?

TD: TLC Book Design has been a member since the mid-’90s and we recommend a membership to all of our clients. The print [IBPA Independent magazine] and enewsletters offer solid and relevant advice, not to mention the variety of well-presented webinars. I’m now paying attention to different types of opportunities as I put on a publisher/author hat.

Ultimate Mix Tape by Tamara Dever

For example, I met Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts years ago at IBPA Publishing University. After a long admiration of each others’ work, we’re finally able to work with each other, and with confidence. The conference has long been a high point in our year. Relationships that develop from networking over the weekend are priceless. It’s exciting to cheer for all of the finalists at the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ ceremony. We gain new clients from our sponsor table and often get to meet existing clients there in person for the first time. I literally cried when it was canceled this year!

IBPA: Do you have any new books coming out soon?

TD: I’m currently writing a new ’70s/’80s quiz book called Ultimate Mix Tape that contains over a thousand questions and is a party in a book! It’s in the hands of beta readers now (a new experience!) with a release either late this year or early 2021. I recently launched to promote the two books as well as ’80s merchandise I’ve designed.

IBPA: Thank you, Tamara, for sharing your story and expertise with the IBPA community!

Click here to learn more about TLC Book Design!

For more indie publisher feedback on how the coronavirus health crisis has impacted indie businesses, read this article, “IBPA Members Respond to ‘Pandemic Publishing’ Survey.”

IBPA wishes you, your publishing team, and your loved ones all the best of health!

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Keep in mind that we reserve Spotlights for major news (such as, you published a book about space exploration and now it's being read in a live video feed by astronauts from the International Space Station), unique news (such as, you published a book about cycling and now the author is riding a bike across the U.S. for their book tour), or human interest stories (such as, you visit shelters every weekend to read books to the dogs and cats there).

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Leslie Turner, Encourage Publishing says...
Posted Thursday, August 20, 2020
Ordering I Like Big Books... and can't wait for the trivia book to come out! Congratulations, Tamara!

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