Want Publishing Success? Be a Great Writer and Clever Marketer by guest @EvatopiaLit

By Rachel Thompson | #NaNoProMo

May 03
Want Publishing Success? Be a Great Writer and Clever Marketer by guest @EvatopiaLit via @BadRedheadMedia

Publishing today isn’t what it used to be. Authors can no longer sit back and expect their book to sell itself. More specifically, they can’t expect a publisher to sell a book for them. Indie authors have long known that when they type the words “the end” their job is only half finished. Now, traditionally published authors have learned this hard fact as well.

Every author, regardless of stature, must market their work.

In short, if you’re looking for publishing success, one must be a solid writer and a savvy marketer.

How Many Jobs Can One Person Handle?

I’m married with three children and like many other women, I’ve often joked about my long list of job titles. Shall we rattle off the titles together? Let’s see…in no particular order, there’s mother, wife, chef, uber driver — because pick up and drop off is on my kids’ timeframe, not mine — confidante, homework helper, psychologist/advisor, and shall I mention courtesan to my husband or is that getting too personal?

Now, add to that list, what happens in the wee hours of the morning before the family wakes, during school hours, and after school until I drop dead around 9 p.m. This is the time for my day job…book packager. What’s a book packager? It’s basically the hats that every author needs to wear or is willing to hire out. It includes proofreader, editor, cover artist, digital formatter, and certainly not least, marketer. It’s this last job of marketer, publicist, advertiser, or whatever title you want to place on the person who gets the word out about your book, that is vitally important to your publishing success.

Marketing of a book is so important that one should plan their book’s promotion simultaneous to writing it. I know what you’re thinking…you’re a writer and therefore, it’s the plot, pacing, characters, and dialogue that must be considered when writing. All true, but one can do this and simultaneously consider marketing. As a writer, this is your job whether you choose to do the marketing or hand it off to someone else. Either way, if you think about marketing while writing, that job becomes easier. Let me explain.

If You Tell Them, They Will Buy

In my many years of working with authors, I have learned a truth about book marketing that still surprises me to this day. It’s what I call the Field of Dreams aspect of marketing. Similar to that movie’s famous line, “If you build it, they will come,” book marketing often times carries the “if you tell them, they will buy” sensibility. I’ve always believed in a soft-sell approach. And yet, I know that marketing means telling people about my book. But there are clever ways to do so.

I don’t attend dinner parties and bring up my book during every cocktail hour.  I don’t post about my books every day on Facebook, nor do I tweet them every hour on Twitter. But,

…a few well-placed mentions of my books will result in sales.

Here’s how I do it with subtlety.

As I’m writing my fiction under the pen name Mia Fox, I might notice a line of dialogue and happily think that I nailed it. I created something that will resonate with my romance readers. Perhaps I do a little happy dance, thanking the stars that writer’s block didn’t strike, but more likely, I make a note of this sentence in a separate document.

These notes are for a future time, or more aptly, a future marketing time, and they will come in handy. These quotes will be conveniently organized and ready. Imagine if you wanted to find a perfect quote and then had to hunt through your entire book looking for it? Best yet, it’s not just quotes that you can pull from your book as a creative marketing tidbit. Read on to learn about one of my most successful marketing campaigns.

Your Own Book Contains Creative Marketing Ideas

If you’re reading a post like this one on book marketing, I’m willing to bet that you’ve read others. Furthermore, I’m assuming that you’ve tried a few marketing tactics yourself. Perhaps reducing the price of a book, running a contest, advertising on one of your social media platforms…you know, types of campaigns we’ve all run. But how successful can a campaign be if everyone is doing it?

One might argue that everyone does these campaigns because they are successful. Still, I believe the best method of marketing is to put your creativity to better use. I prefer to try a combination of the tried and true campaigns, along with something new to shake it up, stir the pot, and get those readers wanting my work.

I mentioned pull quotes above. Let me elaborate. These are best done if they are short quotes that evoke the mood of the scene without requiring an explanation. You want to find quotes that can be taken out of context and still be understandable. They’re the “movie trailer” moments of my book.

Does your main character have a hobby? Do the characters eat at a particular restaurant? Do they live in a well-known town that offers special tourist attractions? These are all aspects of your book that can be expanded upon. One of my most successful marketing campaigns was for my book, Malibu Angel. The setting of that book is, of course, Malibu.

Malibu Angel

I sent out a newsletter pre-release that showcased the beauty of this well-known beach in a pictorial layout. I also included articles about some favorite restaurants in the area and mentioned some celebrity sightings that took place. Then, I took it a step further and also mentioned what those celebrities were up to in the news. It was a fun read, completely outside of my book. These details weren’t mentioned in this paranormal romance book, but they served to elaborate on the setting and give some “behind the scenes” details to my readers.

Create Receptive Marketing Campaigns

Best of all, it gave me a way of talking about my book without the obvious plea to buy my book. I let the details and description sell my book. To me, marketing is most effective when your target audience is receptive to what you want to sell.

Selling isn’t easy. But if you spice up your campaigns with creativity, suddenly you’ll enjoy the process and your readers will reward you. It does take time and there’s no shame in hiring someone to do the marketing for you, or at least to create the template of your campaign. What you must remember, whether you are doing the work or hiring someone to do it for you, make your campaigns resonate with authenticity. Ensure that your marketing campaign is appropriate for your book’s genre.

And finally, never let your writing fall by the wayside.


Day 3 Giveaway

Win a print copy of Margery's book, Full Color Life: How to Live a Creative, Balanced Life (value: $12), a wonderfully empowering guide to help businesses and individuals, find their creative spark and develop the self-belief and tools to make their business and personal life flourish.

How to win? Leave a comment!

#NaNoProMo Day 3: Want Publishing Success? Be a Great Writer and Clever Marketer by guest Margery Walshaw @EvatopiaLit

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If ever stranded on a desert island, her one wish

is to be with another writer.

Margery’s articles have appeared in national newspapers and she has also worked on publicity campaigns for nationally and internationally recognized companies. She was privileged to teach public relations at Pepperdine University in Malibu and provide countless professionals with private instruction on book packaging, marketing, and public speaking.

Margery holds a Bachelor’s Degree from U.S.C. and returned later to earn her Master of Arts degree in Professional Writing also from U.S.C.


About the Author

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

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(16) comments

Lissa Johnston May 3, 2018

I’ve let some aspects of my projects inspire social media posts, but it’s usually a serendipitous occurrence as opposed to an organized strategy. #amediting now so this is a great time to be on the lookout for more marketing opportunities within the story. Thanks!

    Margery Walshaw May 4, 2018

    I love your ‘serendipity’ comment…I think the best things in life occur just that way. 🙂

Laura Johnson May 3, 2018

Great article! I have always had a problem with marketing. There is so much information out there and it seems to overload my brain. However, I have found some great information on this website. Thank you for giving me a clearer vision of marketing.

    Margery Walshaw May 4, 2018

    There is a ton of information out there! Just sift through at your own pace…find what resonates with you. You can’t read it all or do it all, but in the process of looking, you’ll find your place.

Pauline Wiles May 3, 2018

Wow: my biggest takeaway here is how many roles Margery is juggling! Truly inspiring.

I live in California but my novels are set in my native England, and I’ve deliberately branded them as “Anglophile Fiction”. So I do connect with readers over a variety of English topics, traditions and teas. (For some reason I can’t quite bring myself to feel manic about the upcoming Harry-Meghan nuptials but everything else is fair game.) And yes, each book provides plenty of clues and inspiration for likely topics.

    Margery Walshaw May 4, 2018

    Pauline, you are such a sweetie. If we sat down for tea, you might decide what was once inspiring is merely a woman who just can’t say no to a new challenge. 🙂 It’s always good to try new things. It keeps our ideas fresh.

Dana Lemaster May 3, 2018

There is much food for thought in this article, although I think it’s more readily applicable to some projects than others. If the subject matter of the novel is darker, the quotes and promotional material will have to reflect this. It’s all about knowing the target audience and the nature of the story being told.

    Margery Walshaw May 4, 2018

    Dana, I totally agree with you. If you have written a darker subject matter, the marketing can’t make light of it. In this case, you might find current events that speak to your topic and “ripped from the headlines” subjects that audiences will be interested in.

KJ Waters May 3, 2018

Margery, what a great way to look at the marketing. I always struggle with new ways to connect readers to my work and get caught in the easier methods. Thank you for sparking a million new ideas on how to market. This is simple, approachable, and now going to be a new focus for me in my social media.

Great ideas and best of luck with your multiple roles.

    Margery Walshaw May 4, 2018

    Dear KJ, thank you so much for your comment. I’m glad that the post was useful to you. Best of luck to you. I look forward to seeing your name on my social media threads.

Pamela Coook May 3, 2018

Great post. Love the idea of using quotes from your book to create interest. I’ve done this using Canva and always found it successful. But doing it as you write/revise would be much easier.

    Margery Walshaw May 4, 2018

    Hi Pamela,
    Canva is my favorite online tool. PicMonkey is another one to try out when you’re feeling creative.

Iola May 5, 2018

I’m not yet published, but I review books and I post my favourite pull quotes from books I recommend on social media. I tag the authors (well, I tag those who are actually on Twitter!), and it’s always nice when one Likes or RTs my quote. It’s interesting to observe I get more comments about the quotes on Twitter and Instagram than I get on my blog. It shows me people like the bright quote that’s easy to react to.

I also participate in a weekly meme called First Line Friday, where bloggers and readers share the first line of the book they are reading. I format and share these quotes on social media as well.

I’m hoping both will attract the attention of readers in my genre so I’ll have people who are aware of me when it comes time to publish. Meanwhile, the quotes are one small way I can help my fellow authors.

Rachel Thompson May 6, 2018

***Our Day 3 winner has been chosen but please, continue the conversation!***

Lisa A. Listwa May 12, 2018

I love the ideas here – lots of fresh and creative ideas that make marketing feel much less like work and a lot more like just a fun part of the whole process. I need that. Thanks for the post!

Jennifer May 31, 2018

I nodded along with this blog post. Thank you for the insight x

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