Friday, November 4, 2011

Marketing 101

I've had a couple of recent requests for some marketing tips and so today I'm revisiting a post from a couple years back.

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 have a hard time looking 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. 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 hard work, time, 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. Become familiar with writers groups, schools, libraries and bookstores in your area, and allow them to be 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 learn 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 in 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. And have a GREAT WEEKEND! :)


  1. This is really helpful. Thank you.
    But I have a question. I'm a jewelry designer by trade. That's what I got my degree in. So if I get published can I sell my books along with my jewelry at craft shows? Would this work? Does the jewelry have to go relate to the book? Just curious.

  2. Excellent question, Gail. Cross promotion is never a bad thing, and the more reasons a person has to stop by your booth, the better in most cases. I don't think it would harm you to sell both in the same place, but I would recommend relating the two if possible. I assume your book isn't about jewelry crafting, or it would be clear that they went together. So I'd use your experience to create a jewelry line that went hand-in-hand with your book. Then you can promote both together (on flyers, handouts, websites, etc.) and save time/energy/money, etc. Make sense? Good luck!

  3. Hell, Jenn. You're a virtual fount of awesome information. Just seeing your comment here regarding gail's question--between the post and comment, my mind is officially blown. Thanks for that. I needed a brain today. ;P

    (seriously awesome post!)

  4. Great info, Jenn. Thanks for posting it! Bookmarking...

  5. Oh my goodness there is so much great information here I'm going to have to bookmark it...
    I swear I didn't read Ruth's comments first ;)
    I was surprised to see that I wasn't following you. That wrong has been righted. Forgive me?

  6. Laura - haha, you crack me up. Sorry about your mind. :P

    Ruth - Good! I'm happy to be helpful!

    Shelly - lol, all is forgiven. Thanks for righting that wrong. ;P

  7. I try to work on marketing a little every week. It doesn't take much to have an impact.

  8. Thank you J.R. My publisher Salt of the Earth Press recommended your Blog as a recommended site for authors. I found the suggestions helpful and encouraging.

    Mary Ellen Ryall, author, "My Name is Butterfly," Sold on Amazon $12.98 and FREE SHIPPING over $25.