If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Marketing

When my first book was published, I was clueless about marketing. I think I magically expected newspapers and radio (and even television) stations would come pounding on my door, clamoring for interviews and sound bites.

Needless to say, it didn’t happen. Nobody called.

Learning from past experience, there are several things I will do differently with my next book release.

First, I will study marketing gurus like Seth Grogin and Rob Eagar, gathering insights and strategies.

I will also work more closely with my publisher’s marketing team about press releases and advertising campaigns. Then I will be more aggressive in contacting local media to make myself available for interviews, etc.

Working with the marketing team, I will also develop media packages that will do more than say, “Here I am, buy my book.”

One lesson I learned is that, as a novelist, I need stress how the themes of my book are relevant to people, how my book offers more than just an entertaining way to pass a few leisurely hours. Novelists lack that ready-made platform that non-fiction writers bring. Their books are already topical and offer something concrete to the reader.

By our very nature, novelists are story tellers. We need to be able to discuss our themes, not just our plots and our characters. We need to show how our stories can touch readers’ lives today. For example, the themes of my work in progress about a female attorney in the 1880s are pursuing our dreams, overcoming prejudice and bias, and seeking justice despite personal cost.

Hitting the streets and visiting libraries and brick-and-mortar bookstores will definitely receive more diligence. The meetings I had with books clubs, arranging and doing book signings, attending author receptions were very rewarding. Now I know I need to be more thorough in reaching out and following up.

What about you? What lessons have you learned in marketing your stories? What will you do differently next time?

7 Responses to If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Marketing

  1. Jackie Stem November 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Henry, main thing I learned is marketing requires very high energy. Today, a lot can be done on your computer, but it’s just as time-consuming and without the benefit of meeting your customers face to face. To see a person’s face light up when they see your book and then pay money for it is priceless.

    Good luck,


  2. Henry November 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Thanks, Jackie.

  3. Karen November 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Thanks, Henry. I wish I had some great story about marketing I could pass on. (o:

  4. Diane November 9, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    I love your ideas about marketing! It’s very helpful to know some ways a novelist can go about marketing. Your work in progress sounds amazing!!

  5. Henry November 9, 2012 at 4:07 am #

    Thank you, Diane.

  6. Janet K. Brown November 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    You’re right, Henry. There’s no substitude to visiting with people in person. What would I do different? Not try to hit my online loops over the head with news about my book. As long as we share and build relationships online, the book sales will come. We learn though by doing things wrong first. Unfortunately.

  7. Henry November 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    Thanks for the comment, Janet. And you’re so right, especially about abusing our online groups.

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