Writers Night Out – My Notes on Marketing

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 9.19.46 AMTonight the Cape Cod Writer’s Center hosted a sold out WRITERS NIGHT OUT at UNOs in Hyannis – many thanks to Dean Coe who started the ball rolling on the self-published info night and to all those who came and worked hard on it! Especially Janet, who is a part-time slave of the CCWC.

We love you Janet ;)

I was part of the Self-Pub Panel and my topic was marketing, which is probably the fastest way to melt your brain if you are a writer. I had a few minutes to speak, which was like trying to jam GONE WITH THE WIND into FROG AND TOAD.

Anyway, the topic of marketing can fill a two hour class without batting an eye, so realize that what I spoke of, only scratched the surface. As promised, here are my notes (and they reflect my scattered brain).


1 – A flawless story with a focused audience. Why would they read it? Did you aim for them? Who is your competition? Why are the top-reviewed books getting 5 stars? Has it gone through the hands of honest reviewers who are NOT family members? Now is the time for criticism, not praise.

2 – Cover it: Design a phenomenal cover, eye-catching that is on-par with other bestsellers. Spend the money, make it breathtaking, use a matte finish. Build a header for Facebook, Twitter, and your blog as well – though don’t simply repeat the cover over and over.

3 – Pitch the sucker: Build a tight teaser line, back jacket, and multiple pitches. You will need these for blog tours, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Two Types of Indie Authors:

A – Those who simply want to say that they “wrote a book” so they can tell their family and friends that they are an official, published author.

B – Those who are dedicated to the craft of storytelling and the business of selling books.

If you find yourself in the first category, don’t bother with the marketing aspect. Publish directly to Kindle (.mobi), let Createspace (Amazon) assign you an ISBN and convert the format. Tell your family and friends, let them buy some ebook copies, and be done for around $500.00

If, however, you are self-publishing a book because you really want to compete with traditionally published books, know several things: Marketing is a full time job, expensive, and it can backfire miserably if your book isn’t really ready to be published. Additionally, marketing needs a lead time of several months before a book should “drop” (go on sale). For example, if you are done with edits, story boarding, graphics and layout in January, then the book should go on sale in May. Marketing a book takes time – and large amounts of coffee. 


Step 1 – Flawless Story: approved by a team of readers (mine had to literally force me to go to press).

Step 2 – Goodreads Page: Using your personally bought ISBN from Bowker, upload the details of your book to Goodreads, then have Goodreads mesh your profile to the book as author. Link your Blog to the Goodreads page.

Step 3: Printed ARC copies offered to reviewers (use Facebook, Twitter, and book blog reviewers). Send with cover letter explaining what is required of the reader. Once you get feedback and are pulling consistent 4-5 star reviews load to . . .

Step 4: NETGALLEY: I use Patchwork Press co-op to load to the review site. Used by librarians, reviewers, book buyers, etc.

Step 5: Goodreads Giveaway: Goodreads allows you to giveaway physical copies of your book. This is a great way to get your book into the eyes of other readers.

Step 6: Pay it back: Reviewers who are librarians and teachers and who love your book should be offered FREE printed copies for their library or classroom.

Step 7: BLOG TOURS scheduled: Schedule 3 blog tours, separated by a month each.

Step 8: LAUNCH BOOK: Launch book a week before the first TOUR is scheduled. Release to all selling points – CreateSpace, Lightning Source, KDP, BookBaby (B&N, Kobo, etc).

Step 9: LOCAL SUPPORT: Give copies to local libraries with a press release. Let them know you are available for readings or to provide them with more books if needed.

Step 10: Local media: Contact local newspapers and tv shows, pitching them your book and if you might be able to get in the paper someway (you have a good shot if you are pulling great reviews and can spin your profile as an author into something local – i.e. the you wrote half the book on the napkins at a local coffee shop and the waitresses helped you complete the story).

Step 11: Bookstores: Show bookstores a top notch book, all the marketing you have done, publicity, and agree to their consignment guides. Tell EVERYONE where to find printed copies of your book.

Step: 12: BOOKBUB and the like: Apply to have your book become a featured “best buy” via KindleFire Department, Kindle Nation Daily, Bookbub, Book Gorilla, etc. Set your ebook price lower than normal and send it out.

Step 13: Repeat steps over and over and over.

Step 14: Pray

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