5 Tips for Navigating the Marketing Maze

Marketing for WritersToday I’m pleased to welcome special guest poster Grace Fox to share some insider secrets on marketing.

Grace Fox is the author of five books including Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation. She’s written hundreds of magazine articles and speaks internationally. She’s also just a super nice lady. You can connect with her on her Facebook page.

Take it away Grace . . .

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5 Tips for Navigating the Marketing Maze

By Grace Fox

Marketing—the word strikes dread into the hearts of many authors. We’d rather spend our time and energy doing anything but slogging our way through the self-marketing maze. Cut us loose to research, write, edit, revise, tweet, blog, check our Amazon stats, sweat through a book proposal—anything but market.

And yet the latter task is non-negotiable for us. So what’s an author to do?

First, we need to understand the difference between marketing and publicity. Steve Laube, president and founder of The Steve Laube Agency, says marketing is “all about creating multiple impressions” whereas publicity is “all about meeting the author.” He says marketing can be done through ad placement, reviews, contests, banner ads, and more. Publicity is done through radio, television, and social media. The difference, he says, is that authors “feel” publicity because they are involved. They do not “feel” marketing, per se, because they are not present.

Armed with that clarification, we need to look at our options and then develop our marketing strategy several months prior to the book’s release. Here’s a list of ideas for authors with limited time and money:

Write articles that pertain to your book’s topic. Assuming your articles are published, your byline will contain your name, your book title, and your website address. This is free exposure, and hey, you might even receive payment! (Marcy here: This is a good tip for fiction authors as well as non-fiction authors. Just think outside the box about what topics or themes appear in your book and what magazines address those topics.)

Make a list of influencers—people who have a wide following—and offer to send them a copy of your book. Ask them to recommend it to others if they enjoy it or find it helpful.

Visit and phone bookstores. Introduce yourself to the manager or the person who orders the stock. Tell them about your book’s topic and who the intended audience is. When I introduce Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation, I say that its content is relevant to women such as those going through divorce, dealing with cancer and other illnesses, single moms, military wives and moms, and women facing significant transitions. Inevitably, the person’s eyes light up and they say, “Wow—thanks for those ideas!”

Brainstorm. What organizations or ministries might find your book useful? Find their contact information online and make a cold call. Tell them about your book, explain why its topic is relevant to their demographic, and offer to send them a copy. Tell them you’ll follow up in a few weeks. Keep your promise, but don’t be too pushy.

Develop a list of potential readers’ names and email addresses. This is critical! These are the folks to whom you’ll send regular newsletters that contain useful information for them plus info and updates about your book. How do you collect their names and addresses?

  • By placing a box in an obvious place on your website homepage (and other pages, too) inviting them to subscribe to your newsletter. Check out mine at www.gracefox.com.
  • By offering a doorprize when you speak to groups. The prize slips should include a place both for names and email addresses. Be sure to let your audience know that, when they give you their email addy, they’re giving you permission to send them a newsletter or you’ll be deemed a spammer.

I’ve used these methods and more. Unfortunately, one size does not fit all. Each marketing endeavor looks different depending on the author, the book, and the audience.

Remember—you can’t do it all. Pick what works best for you, and do it well.

What’s your biggest fear about marketing? What marketing techniques have you found that work (and which ones don’t)?

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Image Credit: Gabriella Fabbri