11 Steps To Take In Marketing Your Book

Words that go with writing: solo, alone, unaccompanied, quiet, unobtrusive, internal.

Words that go with marketing: connections, mass, commercial, global, universal, noisy, external.

Few other art forms require both skills from one human being.

That’s you.

Yes, you could write the best book ever and run for the hills, never to fret about a bookstore signing or a writer’s conference. Hello, J.D. Salinger. And Cormac McCarthy. I guess Marcel Proust wasn’t out and about very much, either.

If you’re not producing work at that level, at some point you might have to undergo that strange transformation from recluse to extrovert, from solo artist to mass marketer.

No doubt you’ve perused a hundred web sites—looking for the secret.

You may have shelled out good money for a marketing class or a marketing workshop—searching to learn the magic touch.

You may have felt that electric tingle when you spotted a come-on tweet or a promising Facebook ad—sell millions of books tomorrow.

In fact, there seem to be as many people selling book marketing tips and strategies as there are actual writers.

Guess what? They don’t have the secret, either. Check their list of clients. Have you heard of the books they represent? Do these marketing “geniuses” really possess the perfect formula?

Just stop.

There is no magic.

Only thoughtful work.

Yep, it’s work. And it takes time.

So I’m here with a healthy dose of reality.

So herewith a list of (I hope) common-sense thoughts about marketing your novel:

  1. Be yourself. Only do what comes naturally.
  2. Go where readers congregate: bookstores and libraries. Introduce yourself to every independent bookshop within driving distance of your home. Check with the chains, too. Drop off books as gifts with the person at each store who handles events and inquire about options that might include you. Get to know your local librarians (you’re looking for speaking opportunities).
  3. Months and months before your book comes out, edit and check every email and every street address of every single friend, classmate, colleague, cohort, and relative you know. You will gently nudge them with postcards and well-designed, simple emails about the fact that your fabulous book exists. Once or twice, a few months after the book is published, you might remind me that it STILL exists and has drawn rave reviews. You can ask them to do things to help you (host book clubs, post reviews, tell friends).
  4. You will remind yourself on a daily basis: not all books are for all people.
  5. Be supportive of others in the writing community. Don’t write negative reviews. Don’t argue with people who don’t like your book. Don’t try and sell to other writers. Fellow writers are supportive. Make connections. You never know where a relationship could lead.
  6. If social media comes naturally, start making friends online many months or a year or two before your book comes out. Comment on reviews. Listen to podcasts. Re-tweet comments from your favorite critics or other writers. Yes, you can actually “meet” people here—people who can help you. Establish your voice and be clear about what you stand for. Not just “I got a book,” but comment and post about yourself and your priorities, too. What do you have to say? Establish yourself online the same way you do in your community.
  7. Hire a publicist. Yes, but only if it feels natural to you. Yes, if you have the money. Yes, if you are willing to interview three or four of them and choose the one with the most proven experience and legitimate contacts. Good publicists have connections and relationships. You’re looking for publicists who can increase your chances of receiving reviews and/or profiles written about you and your new book. You’re looking for publicists who can book you on radio or television shows and who will pitch you as a speaker at conferences. It is entirely possible to do this yourself. But it takes time.
  8. Months and months before your book comes out, make a list of dream publications you’d love to prod to write a review of your book (or a profile of you). Do you know anyone who knows anyone at these publications? Develop your pitch. Send a friendly email, something simple.
  9. Don’t overlook neighborhood newspapers and local magazines.
  10. Think topically. Make a list of every publication and website that might have an interest in the themes and topics covered in your book (even if it’s fiction). Start querying them early. Don’t get discouraged. A book editor at the Denver Post told me that they receive 50 to 60 book submissions each day. They review only a few each week. That means 300+ are not reviewed. (You know the editors can’t even give some books more than a cursory look.)
  11. Be yourself. Think long term. Think of a steady 24-month push for your title. Do something every day, whether online or sending an email or reaching out to someone online.

If it was a science, we would have long shared the formula. Book marketing is an art and it’s a long, thoughtful haul. Enjoy the ride. And start work on your next book. Maybe the next time it will be so good you can run for the hills.

About the Author
Mark Stevens has worked as a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor in Boston and Los Angeles; as a City Hall reporter for The Rocky Mountain News in Denver;  as a national field producer for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (PBS) and as an education reporter for The Denver Post.  After journalism, he worked in school public relations before starting his own public relations and strategic communications business. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Authors League, Pike’s Peak Writers, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Mark is the author of The Allison Coil Mystery Series, which includes Antler Dust, Buried By The Roan, and Trapline. Visit him at http://www.writermarkstevens.com/.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |January 19th, 2015|EBook Marketing Innovations, Interviews|0 Comments

The Opposite of Gravity: D.L. Prophet’s ABNA Pitch

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Our scars create the maps that help us find our way to each other.

At her birthday dinner with her husband, happily married, thirty-something, Nicola (Nicki) Botticelli’s evening ends with divorce papers in her hands and a sucker punch to her heart.

When Nicki’s husband tells her he’s leaving her for the marriage counselor they’ve been seeing to make their good marriage even better, she swan dives into couch surfing, junk food eating despair.

But this isn’t just another sad tale about a woman who’s been left by a cheating man. This story is about what can happen next. Nicki’s devoted girlfriends rally to help her pick up the pieces and she’s soon shimmying her way down the road of no regrets. Nicki begins her life again as a single mom with two kids.

She starts by begging a surly gym owner for a job. He sees something in overweight and out-of-shape Nicki and takes a chance on her. That decision pays off for both of them. She works hard and becomes an in-demand personal trainer. As her life and body shape up, she finds herself fending off the advances of a much younger trainer and realizes that she’s ready to risk her heart for love again.

Nicki’s sea-side New England town is mostly populated with retirees, making her chances of meeting Mr. Right about as likely as her showing up on the beach in a thong bikini. She decides to try online dating. Two potential love interests quickly emerge: Javier, a transplanted, Parisian Romeo and C.J., a curiously familiar younger guy with the hometown advantage. Oh, and Nicki’s ex has been dumped by his fling and he wants to come back home.

Will love trump Nicki’s fears as she comes to understand the meaning of the opposite of gravity?

D. L. (Danielle Lise’) Prophet was the quiet, shy little girl in elementary school who still managed to get in as much trouble as the wild boy in the class. She did this by rarely paying attention. It wasn’t her intention to ignore the noble striving of her teacher to educate her pliable young mind. There just was a whole, much more interesting world residing in her creative mind. She was the class daydreamer. Her perceptive sixth grade teacher recognized the value of her imagination and encouraged her to put that world to paper and that began her love of writing.

She’s been telling stories ever since. She started out writing skits and three act plays for the neighborhood kids to perform during their summer vacations. Years later she went on to hone her story-telling skills during the 80’s, as a singer/songwriter, writing for such bands as the Boston area, award-winning, Feat of Clay. 

She now lives on the inspiring coast of Massachusetts where she’s renovating a home with her boyfriend, Ivan. The Opposite of Gravity is her debut novel. She’s presently working on the sequel to the Opposite of Gravity ~ Flying & Falling.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |March 19th, 2014|Interviews|0 Comments

Need A Writing Coach? Our Choice Is Lauren Sapala

Lauren 1Lauren Sapala

You’ve been coaching writers for years but made this a full-time business about 8 months ago. How has it been going?
It’s been really fantastic so far. I was a bit nervous because I have traditionally coached people in person, and I was worried that I might lose something of that personal connection if I worked with writers via email or Skype. But that actually hasn’t been the case at all. In fact, I’ve noticed that writers who are more on the introverted side have been seeking me out and I think it’s precisely because the option is now open to them to do things over email. I’m an introvert myself (although because I have very strong people skills I’m often mistaken for an extrovert) so it’s been really wonderful taking on more introverted clients.

Writers seem to be like athletes – they come to you in different shapes and with different talents. How do you customize your coaching based on that?
My first rule for coaching writers is: You are where you are right now, and that is exactly where you are supposed to be. Almost every writer who comes to me is focused on the future. They want to finish their novels, get published, gain more confidence, etc. That sort of drive is excellent when it comes to goal-setting, but it’s essential to accept yourself as an artist in this moment. Maybe you haven’t finished your novel yet, but you’ve shown the stamina to get those few rough chapters down. Maybe you haven’t even started your story, but you’ve got the creative brain churning out ideas. By constantly bringing the artist’s awareness back to the present and the positive as touchstones, I can help writers train themselves in resilience and solid self-esteem.

How do you conduct your writing groups? Do you set goals for the groups?
The writing groups I lead meet and write silently together for one hour. I don’t set concrete goals at the beginning of that hour because it’s not about meeting a certain word count or hitting manuscript milestones. However, I do conduct my groups with an emotional intention. My goal is to trust the writers who show up to write. I trust them to be present and do the work. I also put trust in their hopes for themselves and their dreams of a successful writing life. And the writers who show up respond to that trust almost immediately. Struggling writers are usually struggling with whether or not they have “the right” to call themselves a writer. My function is to really see their creative essence, and to recognize them as writers, along with giving them a time and place where they will be welcomed and encouraged to continue creating.

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You have a great blog. It’s chock full of wonderful advice! How do you determine what you write – do you map out where you want your reader to go, or is it more spontaneous?
It’s totally spontaneous. I either write about about something that I’m currently challenged on, or an idea I’ve come across in something I’m reading that sparks my creative flame. I read a lot of fiction, and also a lot of material on human consciousness, psychology and personalities, and seekers throughout history. I don’t map out where I want my reader to go, but I do craft the emotional tone of each post on my blog to open up the heart. When the heart is open it’s much easier for writers to come away from my blog feeling like they can express themselves with true honesty, which is really the key to brilliant writing.

Dostoevsky has had a great impact on your work. Who do you see as the modern Dostoevsky?
Roberto Bolano is my modern Dostoyevsky. I read his 2666 this past year and it changed the way I thought about my own writing, and what is possible in writing. I really don’t even have the words to describe what an incredible writer he was.

What was the most notable book you’ve read this year?
Prisoner of Love by Jean Genet was a book that completely blew me away this year. It’s a memoir of sorts, about Genet’s time spent in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan in the 1970s and his time spent with the Black Panthers in the States. It’s a phenomenal recording of the instability of time and the unreliability of memory.

Do you write fiction every day?
I don’t. I actually write once a week. I’ve tried to push myself harder in the past and it just doesn’t work. I’m a very slow writer, in fact. I think of myself as this big sponge walking around, collecting all sorts of stuff and soaking up the world, and then once a week I wring myself out on the page and see what floats to the surface.

How do you set the stage for your writing practice (by editing, pacing, chewing fingernails, etc.)?
I treat it the same way as balancing my checkbook. I just sit down and make myself do it. There’s nothing romantic about it for me, it’s pure work. Work that I’m very grateful for and that I love after the fact, but work all the same. It’s like doing sit-ups. I’m not having so much fun when I’m in the middle of it, but I’m willing to put in the time to get the results.

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You are based in San Francisco. How does “place” affect your writing practice?
When I moved here ten years ago I felt like I had finally come home. San Francisco is filled with eccentrics, artists, weirdos and people who just want to walk around in the streets naked. It’s also filled with ambition, innovation, and business mavericks. I love all of these things. I had been searching for a mix of exactly these things all of my life. Every picture I use on my blog is a picture I took just walking around the city, looking at stuff. I walk around San Francisco a lot and I can never get enough of it.

Do you have any writing goals for this year?
My goal is to finish the novel I’m currently working on and start another. That’s my goal every year and I do usually hit it.

How do people get in touch with you? What are your fees? Do you just work with novelists, or also with screenwriters, non-fiction writers, poets, etc.?
People usually contact me through my website, although I am also extremely active on Twitter. I work with all types of writers, but if I don’t think it’s going to be great fit, I usually know someone I can recommend for what they’re looking for. Fees vary widely. It really depends on what the writer needs and wants. Some writers are only looking for help editing a finished manuscript, while others really want to dig in and work on themselves as part of the process. I do a free consultation to determine what would be most helpful and the scope of the work.

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At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |January 4th, 2014|Interviews|0 Comments

Writing Crime Fiction? Turn to Micki Browning for Help

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Micki Browning

Hi Micki, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I recently concluded a twenty-two year career in law enforcement that started in California as a patrol officer and ended in Colorado as a commander. During my career, I served as a hostage negotiator, led the Detective Bureau, managed Records, the Property & Evidence Bureau, Training, and Internal Affairs. I trained as a SWAT commander, and served as an agency Public Information Officer. Now, I split my time hiking in the Colorado Rockies and scuba diving off the Florida Keys.

You have a fascinating background, one that includes a stint with The FBI National Academy. How has that influenced your choice of genre and subject matter for your books?
We’ve all heard the adage that authors should write what they know. After 22 years of being a cop, I know the culture inside and out. I also know that nothing is black and white. Criminals do things for a variety of reasons — not all of which are nefarious. One of my favorite stories is Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. It explores issues of blind justice and redemption. Jean Valjean is an ex-convict, Inspector Javert a dedicated law officer. Both have secrets, both have good intentions. The story challenges assumptions. Crime sets the stage, but the story is ultimately about people. As a cop, I’ve seen amazing and horrible things. These experiences color everything I write. Of course, having Sue Grafton attend the Citizens’ Police Academy I coordinated was also inspirational!

You offer consulting to writers who are writing about crime and want to get the details correct. What does a typical consult consist of? 
I’ve discovered there is no such thing as a typical consult. People are at different stages in their manuscript. Writers may have a simple question about protocol.  Sometimes, an author will describe a scenario and want to know if A leads to B, will (or can) C happen?  Others have written multiple chapters that they’d like me to review for authenticity and technical oversight. Ultimately, I offer suggestions to ensure accuracy and increase the author’s credibility.

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Quite frankly, it’s often unexpected details that trip up crime writers.  For example, I just critiqued a scene where a teenager looks back at a car that’s following her and sees a New Mexico license plate. The problem? New Mexico only issues a single plate and it’s affixed to the back of the car. Or one author wanted to arm her protagonist with a sawed-off shotgun. She didn’t realize that possession of this type of modified weapon is a felony and thus turned her law-abiding heroine into a felon.

Fortunately, it often only takes a few tweaks to turn a glaring mistake into a realistic scenario.

You have a BA in Medieval Studies. How has that impacted your own writing?
I obtained my degree while working full time. I knew the degree wouldn’t have a direct impact on my job, but the classes fascinated me. In the process, I learned time management skills and the importance of research. Every story or article requires research. The trick is deciding what details to include overtly, what to layer in discretely, and what facts should be quietly forgotten. Now that I’m “retired,” structuring my time has become even more critical.

Perhaps someday I’ll be able to use my knowledge to pen a mystery series as engaging as Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael!

Can you tell us a little about your books and what writing you are doing now?
Up until lately, my writing was predominately nonfiction. I’ve written for magazines, newspapers and textbooks. Since retiring from law enforcement, I’ve shifted to fiction. Like many of the authors I help, I’m currently in the query process–and doing my best to develop patience. In the meantime, I’ve received recognition for several short pieces I’ve submitted to contests, and I’m hard at work on my next crime novel.

Thrillers, detective series, espionage — these genres (most of which revolve around a crime) are attracting some of the best writers today. What do you attribute that to?
Regardless of genre, the best writers have always spun tales that illuminate the human condition with great specificity. I find that the most engaging crime fiction lingers not on the crime itself, but rather its impact. How does if affect a person individually? How does it ripple through a community? Jodi Picoult and Dennis Lehane are masters at detailing the repercussions that reverberate through lives.

Do you see a difference in approach to a crime novel by authors from different nationalities?
Funny you should ask this question.  The more I travel, the more I’m convinced that people are people are people. Yes, there are cultural differences, but ultimately, we all love, we all have regrets, we all dream, we all feel violated by crime. So while there may be stylistic differences in the execution, the germ of the story originates from the same wellspring.

If a writer would like to get in touch with you for a consultation, what should they do?
It all starts with an email, micki@literarypartnersincrime. For Contact directions, please visit http://literarypartnersincrime.com/contact.htm. Once I know what an author needs, together we’ll devise a plan to achieve it.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |December 28th, 2013|Interviews|0 Comments