On Marketing

Below are quick links to my blog posts for authors on marketing:

Why I don’t default trust iconic authors: Granted there are exceptions, but in my experience, there tends to be a disconnect between the most iconic authors and the rest of us. And by disconnect, I mean the wealthier and more famous an author gets and the longer they’re at that level, the more out of touch they are with evolving worldviews and how to get from word one to book deal and beyond.

Investigating writing (and marketing) advice given in absolutes: Once upon a time, I decided to write fiction. I consumed as many sources of craft advice (agent blogs, how-to-write books, author Twitter threads, etc.) as I could find. That advice often came in absolutes, as in, always write a certain genre in a certain tense, never start a story with a character waking up, and definitely don’t ever use -ly adverbs.

Book launching in the time of COVID-19: My academic and professional background is in marketing and fundraising, so gather ’round, my wonderful scribes, and I’ll tell you the secrets to marketing during a pandemic.

Is your book cover photogenic: Increasingly, readers are photographing books and posting said photographs on social media and book blogs. This in mind, I asked my super talented photographer friend Sarah if there were qualities that could make one book cover not quite as photogenic as the next. She and I hit a bookstore to find out.

How to make sure your book is social media quotable: From a marketing standpoint, we authors want to see our books mentioned and photographed by as many readers as possible, as many times as possible, across social media and the blogosphere. I, personally, am more likely to post about a book more often, if that book has one or more quotable passages.

Negative space, as important to author marketing as it is to writing: It follows, that if readers appreciate negative space in books, they appreciate it elsewhere, as in every representation of your author brand.

Handling author Q&As to ensure a more positive experience: As a frequenter of book readings and author workshops, I’ve sometimes noticed a moment when the author loses part of their audience, the part that cares about how the author is reacting to questions. Perhaps the author become dismissive, defensive, passive-aggressive, or skirts the question entirely. Here is a list of common question types with example answers that can leave an aftermath of negativity as well as alternatives to keep audience members in that book-buying zone.

Why book marketing is a numbers game: In the case of book marketing, in particular for self-published authors, being able to analyze your own sales figures is one thing (how is book-two selling compared to book-one, how much profit is left after marketing), and I expect that a lot of authors stop there, but the next step, should you wish to embark on it, is finding industry trend data and knowing when to adjust your marketing strategy.

Using marketing research to set up your author platform: Marketing research is accomplished in five steps, step three being what I workshop in this article for three pieces of the author platform.

On balancing and weighting writing advice: You’re stuck on a question about how to use a writing device, and off to the Internet/library/bookstore you go. Perhaps you stop after article number one, thinking, certainly this must be the definitive answer, because this publishing professional has game to spare. She may well, but still your search should continue. Why? Because writing advice needs to be balanced and weighted.

The 4 Ps of marketing for authors: I break down the ‘marketing mix’ (Product, Place, Promotion and Price) for authors.

8 criteria for evaluating creative writing competitions: Writing competitions are a great way to test skill and receive feedback from authors, agents, editors, and publishing gurus. Included are eight criteria to take into account before deciding which competitions are the best use of your time, money, and creativity.

Pro Litsy tips from fellow bookworms: Litsy is a wonderful new-ish social media platform all about books: reviews, reading challenges and games, giveaways, etc. I recommend it to readers, but I especially recommend it to authors, because it’s high-interaction and relatively easy to gain a following.

Twitter pitch parties: First, I share a few pro pitch-party tips that you may or may not be aware of, and below that, some general etiquette regarding pitch parties. At the very bottom, I’ve linked a free Excel/Google Docs template in which I’ve already added character counting formulas. Use this to draft your pitches.

How to think like your future book buyers: Marketers train their brains to think like their targeted consumers. Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to get in the mindset of your future book buyers.

How to plot a marketing education into your author goals: How can you develop a self-guided marketing curriculum that A) is reasonable in terms of time commitment; B) involves the most relevant study material; C) teaches you enough to successfully market your books; and D) keeps you on top of marketplace changes?

Finding peripheral sales channels for your book: The trick to finding peripheral sales channels is to think, “Where would my book complement what is already being sold?”

8 self-publishing mistakes made by new authors: I’m a big fan of Kimberly Martin’s self-publishing advice and super pumped she agreed to guest-post on my blog.

My list of blog hops for authors: The benefits of blog hops are many. Sometimes called link-up parties, hops are a great way to meet other writers/bloggers and build your author community; gain traffic and engagement on your site; and I’ve even seen them used as a tool in virtual book tours.

Why book marketing is a marathon with legs of sprinting: As someone whose career was in marketing long before I became an author, I want to make sure other authors understand why the marathon mindset is important. Here’s what marketers know: it takes 6-plus touch points to reach someone’s consciousness, which means your brand has to interact with a person at least 6 times before they’ll remember it.

Developing your reading list, a strategy for authors: With so many options and only so many reading hours in the day, how do we as authors narrow to the most practical reading list? The logical side of my brain needed a way to sort the options, and the result is my list of eight categories of books (and articles) we should be thinking about when determining our reading list.

Author Toolbox Blog Hop: The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

2017 list of Twitter chats for writers (latest new chat added Sep 2018): Here’s my list of 31 active Twitter chats. Search the list for ones you might be interested in checking out, add a reminder to your calendar, and join in the discussions.

Book Marketing Leads: free template to track them: Everyday, on and off the Internet, we are constantly happening upon book marketing leads, but if we don’t keep them organized, we’re missing an opportunity. I created a spreadsheet to track your leads.

Never too early to start building your author platform: Whether you aspire to self-publish or traditionally publish, make no mistake, you will be responsible for the lion’s share of the marketing efforts to sell your books. Click here for the guest post I wrote on author Tony Riches’ blog.

Literary Agent Elizabeth Copps offers advice on what comes after NaNoWriMo: Elizabeth Copps offers advice on when manuscripts are ready for agent eyes, industry standards for novel length, and how to make sure your query letter is up to snuff.