Marketing is Da Bomb

freeimage-10022432As much as I love writing stories, I think marketing my novels is even more fun. I hear some of you groaning. Of course, you’d rather be writing your next novel. I understand that. Early on I realized that completing my novel wasn’t enough. No one would beat down my door to get to read my book. I had to overcome a lifetime of staying under the radar.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

– Jack Canfield (the Chicken Soup series)

What I wanted was to have my writing ability validated by people willing to pay to read my books. What I feared was rejection of me and my work, looking foolish, public speaking, and talking about myself….in short….Marketing. Don’t hate marketing, embrace it.

7 Ways to Make Your Sales Efforts Da Bomb

1) Have fun

Think of author panels, interviews, and book signings as if they were parties and you’re the happy host. Get out from behind your table and be accessible. Greet everyone with a smile. Be engaging and interesting. Talk to people, not at them.

Make your signings memorable. Get in character. Make it an event. For example, my last author chat was with the Frankfort Literature Club. We discussed “Rim To Rim” in which my characters are backpackers, so we’ll meet around a campfire, roast s’mores, and talk about murder.

2) Meet Your Fans

Realize that people want to know you. Everyone thinks they’d love to write a book, but only a small minority have the tenacity and talent to see the project through. Every one of those would-be-writers, think you’ve done something awesome by publishing a book….and they’re right. They want to brag they met you, they want to hear how you did what they only dreamed of.

3) Love Learning

Get to the heart of your business. Every step of the way to self-publication over the past two years has been a learning experience. In the beginning I only wrote in spiral notebooks. Now I know my laptop intimately. Plus I’ve learned to upload, hyperlink, format, epub, photo-shop, etc. etc. Each step mastered in the publishing process is a triumph for me…an accomplishment. The only professionals I’ve hired were editors. To me, doing most of the work myself is a badge of honor, maybe I like the control. My audiences, writers or not, want to hear about my experiences.

The internet is chock full of valuable information. Google for everything. There is an answer out there. Become familiar with these to begin:

  •  Createspace and Kindle.Amazon have very useful information for formatting your indie book. Ask your questions of their community forums.
  •  Join a few discussion groups like Book Marketing and Books&Writers. Other authors very generously pass along knowledge, tips, and experiences. Get to know them.
  •, Flickr, and other photo sites have available photos for you to browse and buy for use .
  • is a free, easy way to manipulate your own or purchased images and text to create your cover, posters, etc.
  • is the least expensive way I’ve found to produce business cards, posters, etc., especially when combined with picmonkey images.

4) Get out your Crayons

You’re a creative person…your writing proves that. Use that power to create your own posters, bookmarks, flyers, and handouts. I happily lose myself in playing and experimenting with photo-shop software on the free website at http://www.picmonkey for my book covers and other marketing materials . I also love and all the promotional items you can create. It’s fun to be involved in the entire process of bringing your books into the public eye.           Just do it.

5) Think outside the box

f1432-430264_10151256109740634_256421570633_23073454_878722355_nLibrary patrons generally prefer to borrow, not buy, books, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a sale. A fellow author sent out hundreds of letters to librarians asking them to carry her books. She got very little response. Instead, ask everyone you know to ask their town’s library to order your book. That worked for me.

We are told to have an active presence on the internet. Be careful not to communicate only with other authors. They’re all trying to sell their own books. Instead, find and go to your specific audience. Google your topics and start posting.

My target market includes women readers “of a certain age” who are interested in relationship stories, nature, travel, and being fit and healthy. I will find them in book clubs, craft fairs, fitness centers, and outdoor events. Friends of mine have held successful books signings at hair salons, wine shops, VFW’s, pet stores, chiropractors….any busy place that has anything to do with your characters, their profession, or a scene in your novel. One author with a sports theme set up a table outside a high-school basketball game and did very well. Make it a fun, unusual experience for them and you.

6) WOOT! Develop an Author Attitude:

Willingness – Be willing to grow and change

Optimism – Believe in you. Know that everything you do is a step toward success.

Objectivity – View yourself and your work from your audience’s perspective.

Tenacity – Maintain your passion and stay on the path to success. During my twenty-eight years running a small business, Video Master, Inc., I found that these personal qualities are mandatory for creating a money-making venture. It is entrepreneurship in a nutshell. To read more about these essential characteristics for authors, see Future of’s interview with Nina Amir.

7) To paraphrase Leonardo da Vinci… da_Vinci in Sepia.jpg

“People of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.” I love that!

We seldom know what ripples we’ll create when we take a step in a new direction. Be brave.  A musician friend of my husband’s threw out the idea of me writing song lyrics to tell the story of my book. I did. He like it and set it to music, complete with a vocalist. He knows nothing about Youtube, uploading, CD Baby, Amazon. Neither did I. Now I do. Click here to see the “Rim To Rim” book trailer I created from the song, entitled “The Ballad of Rim To Rim”.

cd cove 1448x1448


3 thoughts on “Marketing is Da Bomb

  1. This is great stuff. I love it! And as another suggestion, do some things indirectly, but with the very definite string attached that leads people to your work with the desire to know more. By this I mean thinks like participating in discussion panels or radio broadcasts where the subject is on;y directly related to your topic or theme, but which enables you to indicate that your book is a source of lots more interest in that direction. Then slip in a small plug for the book at a suitable moment.
    You’ll have a lot of fun, you’ll build a presence and a reputation, and your work will become known because you’ll get people talking about it and about you. But you can’t do this by keeping your head below the parapet. So be bold, get out there and show yourself!

    1. You are absolutely right, Ian. We need to make friends first and give our new friends something of value (information, a sympathic ear, etc) and they will naturally ask about your book (eventually) or give you an opening to mention it yourself. We must put it into natural conversation.

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