On Marketing One’s Book: A Dialogue

Ahh, the dreaded “m” word: Marketing. For many authors and other self-employed artists, the word creates a feeling bordering on disgust. It might bring to mind pictures of overweight men in polyester suits, hair slicked back, hand out, shark-smile in place. Or maybe the term reminds us of those terrible telemarketer calls, where–no matter how politely you refuse the service or product–you end up having to hang up on the caller because you can barely get a word in edgewise.


I recently conducted an unofficial author survey (i.e. of my friends who are also authors) to ask what they believe they need as an author, or what help they could have used when first starting out. Most of them replied, “help with marketing” and made mention of the fact that they “greatly disliked,” “didn’t have time for,” or otherwise dreaded marketing their books.

Is that one of the reason that so many authors today still seek traditional publishing packages instead of choosing to self-publish? There could be many other reasons of course, but from what I’ve been hearing/reading, it seems that unless your name begins with S and ends with King, you’re likely going to be doing a lot of book marketing for yourself, traditionally published or not.

While there are loads (and loads and loads) of blog posts, websites and chatter via social networking sites regarding the “how to’s” of marketing one’s book, it still seems to be an area where new and (sometimes) better information continues to flow. Daily. So how does an  author determine what best practices to choose in regards to marketing?

This post isn’t going to offer helpful information or potential solutions. Instead, I’m hoping it will open up a dialogue, a way for all of us to share what’s worked/hasn’t worked in our own marketing efforts. Feel free to offer tips, links to resources or other items of interest in the comments section. And thanks in advance for being part of the conversation.

Author Photo 16Apr13J.P. Choquette writes suspense novels and markets them on a nearly daily basis from her office in northwestern Vermont. In her free time she enjoys making junk art, being outdoors and spending time with family … as well as reading up on the business side of writing. 

This entry was posted in Book promotion, J.P. Choquette, Marketing, Opinion, Social Media, Writers, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to On Marketing One’s Book: A Dialogue

  1. Alexis says:

    HI JP,
    I haven’t actually done any marketing yet because I don’t yet have a book but I DID have to do a lot of marketing for the kickstarter campaign that funded the book and I GET a lot of marketing from book authors who want me to do reviews and giveaways (PR companies and such). So I really have no practical thoughts to share but I can say as somebody who receives marketing from authors that emails that aren’t personalized are a waste of time. As soon as I get some standard, “Would you like to share my book with your readers?” email I essentially tune out. However if somebody attempts to make even the slightest human connection you’ll definitely get my attention. Also while book giveaways are cool you can substantially upgrade from “cool” to “great” by adding a few additional elements to the package. Meaning instead of just “a free ebook” consider a free signed book with a customized book bag and bookmark. Yes it costs more to do a giveaway like that but it also makes it more exciting to win.

    Not sure how I’ll make this work for my own book but I can guarantee you I won’t be sending out any boilerplate emails at least 😉

    • jpchoquette says:

      Hey Alexis, thanks for stopping by and weighing in. I AGREE totally and completely with the whole “human connection” piece that you mentioned. I like the idea you shared about adding some fun “extras” in addition to a book. It’s actually along those same lines–it makes the book more personal (signed! swag!) than just a copy given at random. Good luck in your future marketing endeavors–when is your book due out?

      Be well,

  2. Good point about being personal, J.P. and Alexis. Running a crowd-funding campaign before writing a book is another great discipline, because is asks “why is this book a good thing for readers” before the writing starts. But in the long run, I’m in favor of writing because you’ve become committed to a story and it’s got you totally obsessed. In that case, I think the marketing boils down to “let me tell you this cool story.” Then it’s a matter of finding ways to say that, that are effective in reaching others and also reasonably comfortable for the author (who may indeed be an introvert, struggling to put on the extravert mask for the duration). Your other question, J.P., about whether the dream of conventional publishing is a way to avoid marketing? Ha! We are all responsible these days for introducing our work to readers, no matter who’s publishing it. At least, that’s my experience so far … and I’m hugely grateful for social media, which let me tackle some of that effort from home, in fuzzy socks.

    • jpchoquette says:

      Love this, Beth, “I think the marketing boils down to “let me tell you this cool story.” That’s great! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. 🙂

  3. M. E. Kemp says:

    Yoga was my entry into marketing…. I taught yoga for a few years and teaching it gave me the confidence to stand up in public and speak. I also found a niche market for my historical mysteries via historical societies as well as the usual libraries, and I do advise other writers to look for a niche market based on their books.

    • jpchoquette says:

      That’s very cool, M.E. I love that a passion (am assuming yoga is a passion) helped you in your public speaking and marketing work. That’s a great benefit. And yes, there is no denying the “power of the niche.” Good luck with your future marketing endeavors!

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