Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Marketing - Part 1: But I Just Want to Write!

Many moons ago, I wrote about the many steps and tasks it takes to publish a book (read it here, if you care to). These were all the boring technical parts, like obtaining ISBNs, registering with Books in Print and the Library of Congress, copyrighting, selecting a printer, blah blah blah. Most (if not all) of which a publisher does for the author. When you publish yourself, then you have to do it.

I had also promised another post about the many steps and tasks it takes to market a book. And now I'm finally getting to it. But not exactly as I had expected. I know hearing the words "marketing your book" causes some of you to break out into hives. I hear from so many writers, "I would publish this myself if I had any idea how to do sales and marketing."

Guess what? You'll have to learn how anyway. So this is not about trying to convince you that you should jump on the self-publishing or indie-press bandwagon. It's about helping you sell your book (or anything else).

See...although a mainstream/traditional publisher might do some of these things for you, most require that the author takes on a good part of the marketing. In fact, many publishers invest very few dollars into debut novels, because they are unwilling to take the risk on something that might be a flop. So they leave it up to the authors to make it a win.

And what do most authors say?

"But I just want to write!"

Sorry, lovelies, but even if one of the Big Six publishing houses picks up your book, you'll still have to do most of the marketing.

Hey, hey, stop the fretting! Calm down before those ugly hives start popping up. It's really not as bad as you think. In fact, you've marketed more products than you realize.

  • Have you ever used a cleaning product that finally worked on a stubborn stain and you told everyone you know about how great it is?
  • Have you ever convinced someone to see a movie, tailoring your argument to all the reasons that particular person would like it?
  • Have you ever held a garage sale and had to determine how to price something? Where to post signs? Which newspapers you should run an ad in?
  • Have you ever recommended a book because you love it so much and convinced someone else to read it?
  • Do you, uh, ever make written contact with anyone? Verbal contact? (If you say "no" to these two, you must live under a rock, in a very dark cave, by yourself...and you wouldn't be reading this!)
Those are all parts of marketing. See! You do it all the time! And what better product can you market than your own book?!? If you can't get behind your own book and passionately talk it up, then you will have serious problems ever getting anyone to read it...including an agent.

Of course, marketing is more than this and we will get into details of the marketing machine over the next several weeks. You'll find that there are some things you realize you can do, some things you won't want to do (but you'll have to anyway) and, if you have a publisher, some things you won't have to do. But, regardless of who does it, knowledge is power and the more power you have going into a contract, the better for you. So I'm going to arm you.

For the next several weeks or months (until I run out of ideas), I'll do a Marketing Monday post. Knowing the basics of marketing is beneficial for anyone who needs anything. So please don't tune out every Monday just because you're not a writer. You might glean something you can use for that next promotion...or even the new dishwasher you need to convince hubby to get the picture. 

*In case you're wondering or even background is marketing. Marketing degree and 15+ years in the business. For a long time, I thought I was given the talent of writing to write marketing stuff. It still pays the bills...for now.

So next week I'll tell you all about the 4 P's and C's - the building blocks of marketing. Bonus points for anyone who posts any guesses in the Comments below.


  1. I for one am very interesting to read about how books amrketing is done, keep them coming Kristie! :-)

  2. Awesome. I'm excited for your monday posts. Marketing is always something I like to learn about. Thanks.

  3. As a newbie to the writing game but almost 10 years of a career in business related stuff, I am practically drooling to get to business side of this process. Something I actually know a little about! (Unlike writing) ;)


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