Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Is Marketing Really Too Hard For Authors?

(Welcome Deborah Riley-Magnus to my blog. She's here to talk to us about her book and give us some advice on marketing. Here's her post...)


My first knee jerk reaction to this question is a rousing, “NO! NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR AUTHORS!” However, I’m seeing this issue from a different point of view. I was a marketing executive long before I began to write fiction and nonfiction, so what is painfully obvious to me, is rather obscure to the average author. Let’s start at the top.

Once an author gets past the terror of this strange thing called “marketing” things get very simple. It’s a process, just like developing character or plot, like writing well, like editing and reaching out to agents, publishers, or beta readers. It’s a process all authors are familiar with. Before the author wrote their first paragraph, it was all a scary and uncharted journey ahead, before they baked their first cake, the first time they sat behind the wheel of a car, and the first day of work at a new job is all the same. We all figure it out. Marketing is no different. Marketing is all about connecting with the RIGHT people, creating awareness of our coming or existing book(s), and letting those people buy.

Too many authors imagine that marketing is all about shouting, “Buy my book,” then waiting for the sales to roll in. True marketing is about connecting with people, live and online, who will love the unique elements in your story, and talking to them … not trying to sell to them, just connecting the way we do everything else in our lives. This is EASY. And, it brings not only sales, but loyal customers and fans.

Too many authors think that the only way to market a book is through book related locations and events. How boring and uncreative can they possibly be? Authors are creative beings, so why do they step away from that powerful skill set when it comes time to market? It’s a conundrum.

There are so many extremely creative things to do that cost little or nothing, and create bigger exposure and larger impact on prospective book buyers. Let’s look at three specific comparisons.

Genre Exposure Strategies – People who buy books do lots of things in their daily lives. They make purchases, go on vacations, cook … tons of things. Why do authors imagine that the only way to reach everyone who might purchase a romance is either in a romance book club or looking at romance book lists? They’re not. They're living their lives, so why not reach them where they live? It’s the creative thing to do! If there’s a foodie in your book, look into online foodie groups on Facebook or on Yahoo and join. These are great places to post about your most recent book blog entry about food and your characters … and gain some serious following. Seek out foodie bloggers and offer to write a food related guest blog for their following … with your book cover and buy link at the bottom. Anything you might do in genre related venues will work in these unique hook venues. The only difference is that there are no other authors shouting “Buy my book” at your new audience. It’s all yours.

Book Events – Why, oh why, do authors think that the best, the ONLY place to hold a book event is at a book store? BORING! Is there a gardener or garden in your book? Hold a book signing at a gardening show or in a beautiful community garden. Is there a dog in your book? How about a book event at a pet supply store or a dog park? Is your book about medieval times? Check out the possibilities of holding a book event at a new age shop, or a Renaissance Fair. Are there horses in your book? Think about holding a book event at a cowboy hat and boot store. BE CREATIVE! You were creative when you wrote the book, be creative while marketing it. No other author is going to be at these venues competing for your book buyer’s attention.

Publicity – First of all, Publicity is not advertising. Many authors purchase an ad in a publication, online venue, or author event brochure and expect sales. Oops, wrong strategy altogether. Publicity is a deeper strategy for sales. Step away from standard author thinking and get creative! Connection with a charity that directly relates to your book’s unique hooks is the way to go. Got animals in your book? Support the Animal Rescue League or an international animal protection charity. You can tell people that you give a percentage of the sales to the charity, you can offer to support local charity events by offering a gift basket (your books, a pound of coffee and two coffee mugs) for the event’s silent auction, or you could create a fundraising event for the charity yourself. All three are great approaches. All three create high visibility. All three help build loyal following and sell books. So, you don’t have an animal in your book … there’s a related charity somewhere in your story. Seek it out and CONNECT!

What kind of results? Bigger book sales. Need I say more?


Write Brain/Left Brain:
Bridging the Gap between Creative Writer and Marketing Author
Marketing is a very scary prospect for authors. It seems like a foreign language meant to be spoken in a far off land without an embassy to help explain the culture. None of this is true. It isn’t marketing that’s the issue—it’s a fear and general misunderstanding of marketing in relation to an author’s talents and skill set.

It’s time to open the author’s mind to the purely creative aspects of marketing as it relates directly to their specific book and audience. WRITE BRAIN/LEFT BRAIN skillfully bridges the gap between creative writer and marketing author, and opens the wide road to sales success.

Available at Amazon and B&N


In 2013 her nonfiction, Finding Author Success (Second Edition), and Cross Marketing Magic for Authors were released. Her newest book, Write Brain/Left Brain, focuses on bridging the gap between the creative writer and the marketing author.

Deborah produces several pieces monthly for various websites and online publications. She writes an author industry blog and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations.