Marketing,  Publishing

Marketing Woes of a New Author


My debut novel, SANDMAN, was released December 15, 2018.

Writing it was my second job for the last two years.

My first job takes me to a local college where I work with a great team to ensure the best possible education for transfer students. I have to be there at 8:30, and I leave there around 5:00. It pays the bills and, truth be told, I actually like it and don’t mind giving it my full attention when I am there.

Equally fulfilling is the second job. I love it so much. When a story starts taking shape under my fingertips it is invigorating. And writing “The End” on the last page of a novel, especially a first novel, is a feeling I can’t even describe.

I thought I would ride that high right up until I wrote, “The End” on the next novel. And, I am. However, I can no longer just settle in each night and write.

Instead, I typically find myself doing something else, a third job, if you will. It goes like this:

I am 3/4 of the way through novel number two. I know where I am going. I know how the story ends. The problem is, novel number one is pushy and demanding.

Novel number one says, “Market me. You are a new author. No one knows you. You want to sell me, yes?”

And I do. I want that more than most anything. And so I market.

Like so many other authors in today’s world, I do the following:


Create graphics using Canva.

Post graphics on Instagram with relevant hashtags.

Watch Instagram to calculate the number of hits in relation to other graphics.

Brainstorm future graphics based on what is working.

Create graphics using PicsArt, because the free version of Canva is not super robust, and I am running out of ideas.

Post graphics on Twitter.

Repeat what was done for Instagram, except don’t use as many hashtags. Rumor has it two to three hashtags on Twitter is the magic number.

Respond to some of my favorite folks. Retweet their tweets. Hope they will retweet some of mine.

Look for new people to follow who love words as much as I do.


Write posts on Facebook that deal with writing and reading and coffee. Okay, coffee may not be helping my marketing, but I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without it.

Contact the wonderful photographer who did our kid’s senior pics and set up a date to have headshots done.

Change my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pictures to similar photos. Creating a brand is a thing.

Go to Goodreads. Discover I can put an “Add to Goodreads” widget on my blog. Figure out how to do that. Do it.

Go back to Goodreads. Interact. Apply for an author page. Create a bio. Start answering author questions.

Find someone who can create a short trailer for SANDMAN. Contact her. Write back and forth to discuss needs and payment.

Reach out to my local library. Request my book to be added to their shelves. Get approved. Dance. Try to figure out how to get other libraries to pick up my book.

Realize I can only request a book be added if I have a library card at said library. Go back to Canva. Make a graphic telling readers how important it is to request books of those you love.

Post on all of the social media spaces.

Do a search for Free Little Libraries. Buy ten of my own books at cost, write a message in each of them that says, “If you find me, please share with someone who loves psychological thrillers. If you read, please review on Goodreads and Amazon.” Put books in the Little Libraries.

Take pictures. Post them to social media.

Agree to be the guest speaker for a World of Words initiative at my college. Meet local authors who are also looking for ways to be seen.

Reach out to writers to see who is doing readings, signings, panels, etc. Discuss partnering up and/or get ideas for places to go and how to request to go there.

Create social media postings to announce readings.


Agree to be the guest at the local book club that was kind enough to have SANDMAN as the Book of the Month. Laugh a lot. Take an awesome selfie. 

Look for other potential book clubs. Meet with a couple of them and offer a copy of SANDMAN for review. Agree to be a guest when they finish. Take more selfies. Laugh some more.

Create an Author Central Page on Amazon so I can announce readings and so people can follow me.

Revise my Nitty-Gritty site to include an author page. Try to figure out what to put on it that will highlight SANDMAN.

Do readings and signings. Meet so very many cool people.

Check Amazon and Goodreads and other Webpages to see if my book is being reviewed.

Create graphics that talk about how important reviews are. Post to, you guessed it, social media.

Try to build a following on an author page on Facebook. Wonder why it takes so long. (Not really, I know it takes time. I just wish everyone knew how fun I am so they would just like my page and hang on my every word.)

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I say all of this to say that if you are writing, start this madness now!

Get pages set.

Start making graphics ahead.

Study the greats who came before you.

And, if you have any other ideas for marketing, drop them in the comments below. I am running out of ideas, but I am not ready to stop.

Now if I could just find a bit of time to write the rest of my next novel, “Book of Promises….”

Tammy Bird lives in Wendell, North Carolina, with her wife, son, and two cats. Her first book, SANDMAN, was published by Flashpoint Publishing. This post was featured by permission from her blog.

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.