Marketing In and Outside The Box

Thnk outside The BoxMost authors have learned the task of marketing and promoting their books whether they like it or not. Gone are the days of heavy duty promotion from traditonal publishers with all the new releases. Today traditional publishers are expecting authors to bear the brunt of promoting their own books. Publishers are letting go the publicity and  promotion staff with the many changes that have gone on in the industry due to the popular eBooks that have opened doors to the new world of self-publishing. Millions of dollars are lost in the book industry due to these changes and it now hits the authors and the benefits they receive from traditional publishing.

Logically self-publishing means the same. Not only taking care of editing requirements, cover design, formatting and placements of books into the online bookstores, novelists now are in charge of all marketing and promotion of their work. It’s a do-it-yourself world. For some, it has been successful. For others, it has been a dramatic and expensive disappointment.


The backlash of on his topic for all writers is that instead of authors dedicating their time to the creative world of writing their fiction or non-fiction books, they now delve into the world of social media, blog sites, newsletters, and encouraging reviews which takes many hours away from the creative book writing process. This became a requirement and necessary for the promotion of both tradition and independent publishing.

Social Media
Keep your efforts turned away from improper use of places like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, GoodReads, Google Plus Circles and numerous others writers by using promotion with one-sided posts. To be honest, I have been disgusted by novelists who put up the same promotional posts numerous times a day on the same site and all sites with which they are connected. These authors tend to promote only themselves. Instead, send a photo from their personal lives, share a joke, a quote, a poster, or become a person who cares. I wouldn’t purchase a book or even take it if it is free when promotion is one-sided. It’s one of the promotion pattersn that all writers need to beware. Social media’s purpose is social not promotional. Connecting with others means more than jamming your promotion down other’s throats.

Blog Posts
Blogs are also common for promotion. An authors blog posts are most effective coming from their website. When creating sites, notice that most novelists or writers of all kinds are putting their blogs within their website. It draws people to the site as well as provides interesting information and thought. This means that a blog post tends to be most welcomed when they include all kinds of interesting information and not just self-promotion. Avoid being egotistical and unthinking. Use your blog to support other writers, information about publishing, your hobbies and travels, stories about research or editing tips. Talk about novels you are reading and interesting stories you’ve heard about. Share your thoughts and knowledge of the world and others as well as news about our own books, and change the blog on a regular basis. Use a subscriber link to encourage them to come back again.

Newsletters are mailed to readers who subscribe on your website. Writers should never add a name without the person’s permission and request. I find myself on newsletters where I know I didn’t sign up. These are often writer friends, but it’s not the legal or appropriate protocol to subscribe anyone without their request. Even with subscribers, the chance that they will open the newsletter and read it is not guaranteed, but a subscription gives the author better odds. Out of 2000 subscribers, for example, authors will only learn from the publishing site’s statistics that a few hundred people will open the newsletter and less than that will hit the links or return to the look at it again. Sadly four hundred would be an excellent number for the 2000 mentioned above.

To make the newsletter more appealing and popular send them out on a regular schedule. Mine goes out once a month, usually the first day, but authors can chose every other month, four times a year or whatever is decided, and this allows the subscriber to anticipate the publication. Include more than promotion of your books. Share a little about your personal life since you last published your newsletter, use photos and fun activities. Include your appearances, a section of what you’ve been reading (remember the importance of word of mouth), your fellow author friends’ releases, add information about your interests—gardening, knitting, music—any topic that would interest people. One of my friends has a section on other novelists’ home gardens. I post my favorite recipes in a section called Gail’s Kitchen and also add a faith thought at the end of every newsletter since I write Christian fiction.

Try something different and offer a free book contest each month or every other month. List other places the subscribers can enter free book contests. Whatever you do give back to the subscribers and they will give back to you in their faithfulness to your books and friendship.

Reviews are popular and though I’ve never seen statistics to know their value on encouraging others book purchases, they can’t do harm. A good review can be used in promotion, using a quote from someone else, and publishers like them for those who are traditionally published.

Don’t be overwhelmed by negative comments and reviews. They can also draw interest in your novels, especially when other reviews are positive. The discrepancy can create a curiosity that motives readers to decide for themselves and they will purchase the book despite one person’s negativity.

Amanda Luedeke from the MacGregor Literary Agency and author of The Extroverted Writer puts out a Thursday blog and included some outside the box ideas that she believed were easy to use for book promotion. She has tried them and said they are easy to do and many take little time.

Five Marketing Lessons
1. Find a blog that I’ve never appeared on before and approach them about doing a post.
2. Follow up on an article that I wrote for an one online magazine and push them to run it.
3. Think up an event/party/contest that I can do on social media in the next few weeks.
4. Send a newsletter to all those people who first signed up to be notified when the book released. Let them know it’s now in print.
5. Find two writer-related blogs and leave comments.

Five More Marketing Tips: From Gail Gaymer Martin
6. Ask influencers or Facebook friends to share your promotional and/or interesting posts. This puts your name out there more often and FB powers that be note the shares and you move up a step on their ladder.
7. Find interesting videos or articles that support a topic in your book whether fiction or non-fiction and share it with others. Write an introduction to the video or article and show the relationship of your topic to your book. It arouses curiosity.
8. Share other people’s fun and/or interesting posts and they will be more likely to share yours.
9. Even in fiction, if a social issue or problem has been part of your research or personal experience used in your book, contact a newspaper for promotion or send out a press release on the topic.
10. Encourage word of mouth which is the best promotion you can receive and look for the next weeks’ Writing Fiction post which covers ways to encourage and gain word of mouth promotion.


Leave a comment
  1. Katheryn September 6, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    Thank you. I haven’t started a newsletter yet, but you did give me a good idea. I used to write crossword puzzles. That just might work for a little extra entertainment if they print and work or, or if I can figure out a way for them to fill it out online.

    I’m not a cook, but get the gist of what you’re saying.

    Thank you.

  2. PS Burch September 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    I very much enjoyed reading this and found it helpful. Truth is that I absolutely love writing but do find marketing to be a black whole that I hate I must fall off into. Happily being old and old school it would be nice if this part of the creative effort — the dreaded selling — could land on someone a bit more talented than I even desire to become. Again helpful and appreciated 🙂

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