Thursday, January 21, 2010

Marketing 101

Many of you may not know this, but I have quite an extensive background in marketing. My B.S. is in Public Relations with a minor in Psych (watch out or I may analyze you). After graduation I worked as a P.R. Analyst and later a Marketing Coordinator.

With this kind of background, I've developed some pet peeves when it comes to the publishing world. There are so many aspiring authors and debut authors that seem to think the world ends with a happily ever after upon publication. Understandably, they don't seem to be able to look past that momentous event to the reality of what happens after. This leaves them in a world of hurt.

I've heard it said that it's hard to get published and even harder to stay published. I'm absolutely certain that is the truth. In light of that, I thought I'd do a post with nine quick basic marketing tips.

Many of you may already know most of these. Let's face it, I'm preaching to the choir here. But nonetheless, I hope you might find something new or interesting that can benefit you or another author-friend of yours.

1 - Be accessible - Establish a web presence, have a website, let people find you.

2 - Network, network, network - This one takes work and maintenance. Get out to writers conferences, develop a blog following, connect with people who might in turn connect with you.

3 - Have Giveaways/Contests - Universal truth = people love to win things, and it doesn't matter what. Contests and giveaways always raise the excitement level. Help spread the buzz about you and your work, get people involved in new creative ways and they will want to help you succeed.

4 - Start at Home - Get involved on a local level. Get familiar with writers groups, schools, libraries and bookstores in your area, and allow them to get familiar with you.

5 - Contact Bookstores/Libraries/Schools when traveling - Let's be honest, few debut authors get sent on massive, nation wide book tours. Whether or not you have a book tour, if you happen to be traveling, you should take advantage of it. Contacting bookstores/libraries/schools on your travels will help spread the word to other regions.

6 - Learn how to write a good press release & get a list of contacts - This is huge. Monumentally huge. Even if you spent 24 hours a day out there, spreading the word, you won't reach as many people as if you learned to properly utilize the media. And I mean every form of media. Arrange a blog tour, know the contacts of local newspaper, radio, tv, podcasts, vlogs... everything you can think of. Just do it.

7 - Know what is newsworthy - It doesn't take a lot to turn a note on the newspaper calendar into a local interest story, and many more people read those than check out the calendar listings. Service to your community is never a bad thing. Use your meetings and signings to coordinate support to give back to the community.

8 - Gather support - Recognize that your supporters want you to succeed and let them get involved. Form street teams, give them bookmarks to pass out, whatever. Just be creative and help them spread the word on your behalf.

9 - Be yourself - The most interesting and dynamic authors out there are the ones who aren't afraid to have a little fun with it. Enjoy yourself. You are living your dream. Have fun with your marketing and those who are around you will have fun too.

Anyway, there are some basics. If you have any questions, go ahead and leave them in the comments.


  1. This one is going in my bookmarks. Marketing has always been an overwhelming concept for me. I didn't even know authors were expected to do it until I was published by a small press. (When they sent me my press kit, I called the editor and asked, "what's this for?")

    This next go 'round, I'm going to be more informed. And this post helps a ton. Thank you!

  2. All of this is so true. Being yourself a good one. I know I like to get a sense of what my fav. authors are like. It helps me feel more connected with their work.

    And, for the first time in like forever, I just saw a YA book by the name of "Fallen" by Lauren Kate just advertise on prime time TV. So cool!

  3. Yay! This is such a great post. I think about marketing a lot. Tips like these are priceless, Jenn. :-)

  4. All great advice Jenn. Thanks.

  5. Ahh, I look forward to the day when I will be needing this advice. :)

  6. Wonderful advice to share. Just wish I could use it now:)

  7. I'm working on the networking part, and hoping to be able to implement all the rest someday soon.

  8. Jenn, you are awesome. I'm going to write these in my notebook and make sure I do all of them when the time comes. Of course I'm working on 1 and 2 (and maybe 9) now. For some reason number four made me laugh. And the others were all stuff I hadn't even began to think of. Thanks for the push in the right direction.

  9. I love this post! I'll totally be part of your "street team" when you get published!

  10. Wonderful advice, Jenn. I felt like I was getting a pep talk and it worked. Now to buckle down and get back to networking.

  11. Thanks for the comments everyone. I was really debating about whether this would be helpful to the people that follow my blog. I'm so happy to see that it is!

  12. Excellent points, Jenn. I didn't know you were in marketing before. What a great background for a writer. :)

  13. Man, it literally pays to have you as a friend. *Grins* Nicely put, I couldn't have said it better myself.


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