Why Writing Your Truth Is an Effective Marketing Strategy by Guest @JackieCioffa

What Is An Effective Marketing Strategy Anyway?

When Bad Redhead Media’s Rachel Thompson reached out to me to write a post about promoting and marketing my books, my immediate thought was is she kidding? I have been an avid follower and fan of Rachel for nearly a decade, trying to emulate her badass self-publishing skills and as much of her marketing expertise as I could.

Luckily for me, Rachel is both a friend and respected colleague who willingly shares her pixie dust book magic and marketing strategies through BadRedhead Media, where many of her tips and tricks are free.

That’s right, free. I keep her article, How to Create Pre-launch Buzz For Your Book bookmarked on my computer and her book, BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge right next to me.

When I finished the manuscript for my third novel, The Red Bench, and began hyperventilating, I knew I needed guidance. I turn into a toddler when it comes to all things promotion and marketing related. I reached out inquiring about a possible formatting contact, and Rachel kindly suggested Barb Drozdowich, from Bakerview Consulting, a wizard who turned my pulp fiction into an exquisitely formatted memoir.  

I never quite understood what Rachel said over and over about the author is a brand, not the book until the release of The Red Bench, and the importance of building social media relationships, engaging, interacting, and not solely about your book. I had tried countless promos in the past with The Vast Landscape and Georgia Pine. I used Freebooksy, BookBub, Amazon Giveways, MailChimp, BookMarketing Tools—all with moderate success, yet becoming more and more frustrated.

Why Writing Your Truth is an Effective Marketing Strategy by guest @JackieCioffa via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #marketing #truth

Book Marketing Is More Than Just Selling

Until one day I decided I needed a new approach. I became more involved with the creative arts by creating and teaching a class called Heartstrings: A Woman’s Writing Workshop hosted by Auburn Public Theater. I attended different events within my own community, supported local businesses online and in person, visited the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center, and continued to go to the gym and take yoga classes. By becoming more active, and not solely focused on “buy my book” related activities, I became more involved and more visible to my audience.

I am an unconventional writer with a unique story, so why not incorporate a little guerilla marketing (which I’m more comfortable with anyway)? And that’s when I finally got it—ding, ding, ding!—like a light bulb.

I finally understood what Rachel had been saying all along: The author is the brand, not the book.

Writing is not a sprint, and promotion along with self-publishing is part of a mental triathlon, and certainly not for everyone.

I have enjoyed success as a writer, guest blogger, published author, poet, essayist, a columnist for Feminine Collective, and mental health advocate with a visible, positive social media platform for years. I reside in a supportive, community where friends and even old friends who’ve moved away remain connected to their roots and childhood memories on social media. I receive countless private messages from friends and strangers, expressing their gratitude and respect for my speaking out about mental health issues and for using my voice to speak the truth.

Even though I left my community at eighteen, I was welcomed back with compassion and support. When I wrote my first book, The Vast Landscape, and the second, Georgia Pine, the town showed up. It’s not every day a young girl leaves home, has a successful career for two decades as an international model, comes back and writes books. Friends, members of the community showed up, even if I was a promotion/marketing newbie learning the ropes.

Even my love/hate relationship for all things related to self-promotion regarding my former international model career can be tricky. (I’m not a fan of the Kardashian- style of celebrity phenomena overload).

Authenticity Is a Big Part of Book Marketing

I have always tended to downplay my modeling career, but the release of The Red Bench is the release of my whole story, the good, bad and very ugly. I decided to embrace it. Radical acceptance is my watchword for 2019. When a media whiz from my town related to my story and contacted me, that became my winning promo strategy. Perhaps they had their own mental health battle or was just a good person, yet another Rachel Thompson who just wanted to help. I can’t say.

Regardless, I am grateful, and this is an important story with a purpose: to help others feel less stigmatized and alone.

Before I knew it, I was booked on Bridge Street ChannelNews9, had feature interviews with newspapers lined up, a forthcoming author interview with Spectrum News, and speaking engagements. It’s been a whirlwind, which I could not have accomplished without all the invaluable promo skills, marketing tools and knowledge Bad Redhead Media imparted over the years. Through it all, I still incorporate traditional marketing and am always learning from the masters.

My memoir, my story is set in the place where I grew up, where my parents grew up, and where I can walk across the street into my neighbor’s house. The door is wide-open, and there is a fresh pot of coffee. There is so much to be said for real talk conversation in an overly stimulated and fast-paced world. Human connection is a winning market strategy.

The Red Bench has deep-seated roots where my people, the lovely people who knew me before fame, and who loved me after nervous breakdowns, are the same who watch me battle mental illness as gracefully as I can, are proud. They are genuinely happy to help, to share, and buy my book, (which debuted on Amazon in Bipolar Disorder at #1, are you kidding?!) excited and proud of one of their own.

Sharing with friends, connections, and neighbors simply because everyone loves a Rocky story. A story of surmounting invisible odds, of survival, grit, and hope written by a humble, hometown gal.

Writing my deepest truth has been my most effective promotional tour and marketing strategy, creating a snowball effect of kindness.

And that is relatable to all.


In The Red Bench, Jacqueline Cioffa provides a raw, real and painfully honest description of her battles with bipolar disorder. As a clinical psychologist, I have had years of experience as a mental health provider and as an advocate. I can say with assurance that The Red Bench is perhaps the most eloquent first-person account of mental illness I have ever read. Cioffa’s narrative is both lyrical and disturbing, showing the full burden of her struggle, while also offering hope and inspiration for brighter days to come.

David T. Susman, PhD



One eBook copy and one print copy of

BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge.  Why Writing Your Truth is an Effective Marketing Strategy by guest @JackieCioffa via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #marketing #truth

Want to win this giveaway? Simply leave a comment WHY below!

All comments must be left prior to midnight on Monday, May 13th, 2019 in order to be eligible to win. Winners for the week announced on Tuesday, May 14th.

Good luck!

Jacqueline Cioffa

Jacqueline Cioffa . comJacqueline Cioffa was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector, and Stone Crab enthusiast. Bestselling author of the memoir, The Red Bench, and the poignant soul-stirring saga, The Vast Landscape and Georgia Pine, Jacqueline’s work has also been widely featured in numerous literary magazines, and anthologies.She’s a storyteller, observer, truth teller, essayist, potty mouth, beauty enthusiast and film lover who’s traveled the world. Living with Manic Depression, she believes passionately in using her voice to advocate and inspire others.Read her column, Bleeding Ink, on FeminineCollective.com.30Day-BadRedheadMedia-Book-Marketing-Challenge-2018-WEB

For a more detailed plan on developing your book marketing, purchase Rachel’s new book,
The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge now on Amazon!
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  1. Marianne Sciucco on May 11, 2019 at 4:13 am

    Fascinating story. As a college health nurse working in a wellness center I have a deep interest in mental health. I’d love to read this book.

  2. McKenna on May 11, 2019 at 5:17 am

    Fascinating story–and you make me want to know more.

    I’m very encouraged by the fact you have a supportive community and you’ve been able to share your story with them.

  3. Jacqueline Cioffa on May 11, 2019 at 6:08 am

    Thank you, Rachel for all your guidance, friendship and support over the years. You are a force, and I’ve learned so much from you about marketing, self-publishing, and being a good human.
    Truly grateful for you!

  4. Sara Ohlin on May 11, 2019 at 6:59 am

    I would love to win a copy of Rachel’s book! I need all the help I can get and am very much like you, Jackie when it comes to the marketing side of things. I’m a little overwhelmed and a lot freaked out! I loved this post so much, not only because I adore Jackie and her vulnerable, beautiful writing, but because I love the idea that it’s about human connection more than anything. Jackie, you are also super generous with your writing advice, thank you so much!

  5. Raiscara Avalon on May 11, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Marketing is definitely not my strong suit, but I do try – sporadically. I’m more focused on just being myself…not being good at marketing and all. I would love to win a copy of Rachel’s book – I need all the help I can get.

  6. Iola on May 12, 2019 at 2:52 am

    I have yet to release a book, but I’m amother fan of Rachel’s methods. Marketing by engaing with people and helping them feels a lot more natural that the selll-sell-sell. I love her 30-day Challenge 🙂

  7. Dana Lemaster on May 12, 2019 at 7:31 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. I admire you for using your experience to reach out and help others. All the best to you in your future work.

    Dana Lemaster

  8. D.B. Moone on May 12, 2019 at 10:49 am


    Wow. Just wow! I felt as if I could have written this, except I have yet to finish my book. However, from your writing about Rachel, “… trying to emulate her badass self-publishing skills and as much of her marketing expertise as I could.” And she does indeed have a hell of a lot of “pixie dust” for the taking. She’s a badass who gives a damn, but you have to do it your own damn self. Yes, I’m smiling. Rachel has that effect on me, especially when she goes off on a tangent.

    Thank you for being an advocate. I admire your honesty in writing about that which many have written about, but everyone’s story is different because the spectrum is a long one when it comes to BD. I will be reading your book “The Red Bench” soonest.


    BTW, every writer should keep a copy of Rachel’s 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge next to them, and read it.

  9. Sarah Krewis on May 12, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    I enjoyed this post. I had been hesitant about being personal on my blog, though I’ve always been read. I was even told that using your blog for personal posts were a bad idea because “no one cares”, but I didn’t agree with that. Still don’t.

    It’s nice to see a post that shines a light on why telling who you are is a good idea. Thank you for this post.

    As to why I’d love the paperback copy of the book, or ebook, I’d love to learn more about marketing myself while marketing my book.

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