#MagicalMarketing,  Marketing

Nine Things I’ve Learned About Book Marketing 

I am not a marketing expert. 

I am, however, an informed consumer and reluctant buyer of stuff. I am not easily impressed. I don’t follow trends, I am only impressed with designer labels when I see them at my local thrift store. I also come from a family of manipulators so if anyone has a BS detector, I do. You would think that I would have negative feelings about marketing.

You’d be wrong.


I love it because it’s not what I thought it was. I thought that if I am going to sell, then I have to be annoying to buyers. If I’m going to sell, then I have to cajole, manipulate, and lie. If I am going to sell, then I  have to yell from the rooftops the name of my book to get attention. I have to tweet constantly, I have to send auto DMs and I have to spend a lot of money, buy ad space, get onto every single social media platform, harass local bookstores, blah blah blah.

No one successfully markets the same way. The path is self-discovered. You can’t market the way I do and expect the same results. Every marketing plan should be individualized for the author and the book.

Good marketing is about relationships. I’m reading To Sell is Human  by Daniel Pink and he goes into specific detail about the importance of this.

Good marketing still follows the foundational principles of finding buyers. You have to find the right people who will love your product. I recommend Amanda Luedeke’s book The Extroverted Writer for suggestions on how to do this.

Marketing is about exchange, and this doesn’t always mean money. Think about big bloggers, like Flylady or Pioneer Woman. You can receive from them a LOT of information without ever giving them a dime, right? What are you giving them? A brand. A household name. A reputation. And when they write the next book, they cash in on this exchange. Who will line up to buy the next cookbook from The Pioneer Woman? EVERYONE IN THE WORLD!

 A marketing plan is a living organism that can grow, stretch, reproduce and shrink. I found this truth to be freeing. Instead of being obsessed with my to-do list, I should have a plan, but then enjoy the ride it takes me on. Sometimes the best connections are the most random, most unpredictable and most scary!

A marketing plan must measure results.  I’m not great with analyzing data, but it’s a must. Track what works. Make changes if it doesn’t. A successful plan is one that has a 30% return. Only THIRTY PERCENT! That means that 70% of the time, your plan won’t work. Do it anyway.

A marketing plan makes the most of the author’s strengths. Some of us are great at Twitter. Some of us don’t have a good voice for radio. Some of us are afraid that our big hair will overpower any television set. That’s fine. Figure out what you can do and do it!

A marketing plan Is deliberate and thoughtful, not impulsive. Which means that TIME needs to be invested in creating it and then implementing it. My personal plan starts locally with libraries, bookstores and coffee shops. Then I’m expanding to Google searches with a few key words in my target market. I can’t assume that one blog post or one tweet is all I need to be successful.

A good marketing plan is useless unless the book is EXCELLENT.  If you are offering a slipshod product with no editing and bad artwork you are insulting writers everywhere. You are attacking the dignity of this art. You’re telling the world that you disrespect your readers and yourself. Do us all a favor and get it right first.

Marketing is not some set of hoops that we have to jump through.

Marketing is not a cause and effect scientific formula.

Marketing is not a list of dos and don’ts (except for the auto-DMs one!)

Marketing is not a for sale sign, or balloons tied to used cars, knocking on doors or cold calls.

Marketing is about figuring out WHO YOU ARE and HOW YOUR BOOK RELATES TO YOUR READERS. Good marketing takes thought, organization and humility. 

What do you think? What have you learned recently about marketing? How has this changed how you market?

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.