Energize Your Marketing Strategies

On  August 1st I wrote a marketing blog, Marketing Can Be Fun, Really! to coincide with Rachelle Gardner’s Blog, How To Market Your Book, that week. What I want to do today is encourage you as you look for ways to market your product. Yes, our books are products and they are very important for our life’s work.

We need to think like business folks as well as authors. This may not come naturally and then again maybe you’re good at this particular aspect of the business. It’s grown on me.  I met a guy at Mt.Hermon a few years ago. Some of you may know him, Jim Rubart. Listening to Jim made me think a bit harder about my natural instinct to market though I didn’t have much experience because up until I’d sold my novel there hadn’t been a need.

I counsel and teach nursing students at my day job. One of the problems some of them encounter in the college is test anxiety. I start my lectures with the words, “Have courage.” That’s what I want you to do when it comes to marketing your novels, have courage.

I want you to brainstorm marketing ideas with someone you trust. Just sit down and rattle off anything you can think of and then pick three that you really like that will energize you as well as your marketing plan. Think out of the box. I’m going to share three of my ideas that I’ve really liked exploring and working on to promote and market my  first book to it’s best advantage.

  •  Find the biggest book marketing opportunity in your area

          I mentioned Books by the Banks (that’s the riverbanks of Cincinnati), in the blog post on my personal blog. Since Secrets of the Heart was chosen for this opportunity some really cool things have happened. (1) I informed my publisher, Realms/Charisma, about signing at Books by the Banks. They kindly offered to send me 1,200 postcards to use for that day and to help promote my book at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference later this month. That’s awesome! The postcards have my book cover on one side and a nice blurb on the opposite side with my website and the publisher’s website. (2) Dennis Lehane and Judy Collins are now promoting and signing their books at the same event. This will draw an even bigger crowd than expected and last year there were approximately 3,600 attendees.Opportunity galore!

  • Hospital Gift Shops

          I work in a large hospital in Cincinnati,Ohio. I asked the woman who runs our gift shop if she would carry my book. She said YES! Also, a dear friend of ours is the coordinator of volunteer services at the hospital where my husband works. She suggested I talk to the woman who runs the gift shop at there. I did and now they carry my book as well. My husband is an awesome publicist at his hospital and has been wonderful in talking up my book at his hospital. I also have the postcards at the register at both hospitals now. And I’m not stopping there. As time allows I’m asking the other hospital gift shops in the area.

  • Christian Bookstore Week

          When Cara Putman announced information about Christian Bookstore Week on our ACFW loop I got to work and now have a signing at a Kentucky Bookstore the week of the celebration and I’m going to ask one more store near me in Cincinnati if they are interested in having me come sign. So don’t waste time. Get on-line and get on your phone and market your novels.

This is just the tip of the iceberg related to opportunity and marketing savvy. Next month on October 24th, I will report back on what my experience was like at Books by the Banks on October 22nd.

Remember, even if you don’t have a book contract yet, if you’re serious about your writing you need to have an on-line presence, your home on the web. Though it’s hard to draw an audience it’s a good thing to get practice in on how to formulate blog posts, etc. 

What are you doing to energize your marketing plan?

Post Author: Jillian Kent

 Jillian Kent is more than enthusiastic about the release of her first novel, Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One. She’s a full-time counselor for nursing students and holds a masters degree in social work. She’s fascinated with human behavior and thought it would be interesting to explore what might have happened in a lunatic asylum during England’s Regency era, her favorite time period. Jillian hopes you will escape into the past with her and find faith for the future.

28 thoughts on “Energize Your Marketing Strategies

  1. Your innovative idea to ask hospital gift shops to stock your book is wonderful. Often, there are lots of people with waiting room time on their hands who need something to take their mind off of watching a ticking clock. Thanks for this post, Jillian!

    • Hi Donna!
      The waiting room time is exactly what I was thinking about when I considered the gift shop. I also considered the patients themselves. Sometimes patients have to be in the hospital longer than anticipated. A good read would help them get through each day. Gift shops are connected to their hospital foundations that are trying to make money from those sales.

  2. Great question! Love your blog posts. They are always so thought provoking!
    I’m already marketing my book. I sure hope it gets published because I have two galleries that are waiting to sell it and have book signings for me. I am posting character profiles and oil portraits (I’m a portrait artist) of my main characters on my blog and referring to it on facebook and everywhere else I go. I am sure I’ll do a business card with my blog and pass them around everywhere I have my artwork.

    I’ve already had an interview about my ms online. We have a lot of local bookstores that like to do signings too. If it ever happens, I think I will have a lot of fun sharing it. I have friends out of state, my daughter-in-law is a teacher, she’ll help me market.

    Like I say, I sure hope I have a product now that I have so many people asking for it.

    • Hi there, Diane!
      Glad you enjoy my blog posts. What a wonderful and creative profession you are involved in as a portrait artist. I love that you’re posting character profiles and oil portraits on your blog. That is awesome! You are definetly doing a great job getting exposure. I would write another manuscript, maybe a series, so you have even more to offer when your book hits the shelves. Best of luck with your manuscript!

      • Thank you Jillian. I actually am. My ms is the first in a trilogy and I’ve started the next two books already. Thank you for offering good will for my manuscripts!

  3. One thing I did: I mention a photograph by an extremely well-known wildlife photographer in my debut novel. When I was in one of his galleries, I mentioned to the woman there that I had done this. She was so excited about this and took my name and email address and asked me to please send them a copy of the book when it came out. She said the artist would be pleased to hear about this. I’m hoping they might showcase the book in the gallery.

    Thanks for helping me (and other writers) think outside the box–and to take courage!

    • Beth! That’s and awesome idea! I bet they just might be willing to showcase your book in that gallery. I’d recommend that you let them know when your book debuts and put some information about the photographer on your website/blog like Dianne Gardner is doing with her portraits and pre-pubbed manuscript. Maybe you can get permission to post some of his work on your website. Free publicity for him. Can’t hurt. I’d ask him and have courage!

  4. Those are some ideas I hadn’t considered. Marketing has to be one of the scariest things to anticipate about being a writer, something that I never considered when I started on this.

    • Hi Donna!
      It doesn’t have to be scary though! 🙂 Start small. My agent, Rachelle talks about utilizing your sphere of influence. Start with family members and friends. Facebook and Twitter, etc. Do you have a website? Visit the websites of the authors on this blog. Create ideas that appeal to you. Develop your courage a step at a time. Read Mark Batterson’s, In The Pit With A Lion On A Snow Day! Develop your roar. Don’t let the fear of marketing stand in the way of a great book! Best wishes for your success.

  5. Fantastic ideas! I’m making lists and brainstorming like crazy. I write down any thought, even if it seems a little out-of-the-box. I like what you have here. Now I can add a few more thoughts to my list. 😀
    ~ Wendy

  6. Terrific post with new ideas for me use in the future. I’m establishing my web presence now, while I work on obtaining an agent. I saw you on FB and will look for you on Twitter. Thanks for the advice!

    • Hi Patti!
      So glad to hear you are establishing your web prescence. I’m JillKentAuthor on Twitter. By the by (Regency terminology) 🙂 I’m still learning how to use Tweetdeck! I have to force myself to have courage and be bold sometimes with technology, it doesn’t come easy for me but if nothing else extremely tenacious. I think we’ve got to figure out what works best for us and then do it. If it doesn’t work well the first time around just keep trying. Be blessed in finding your agent.

  7. To think one can just create and not have to market is not very creative thinking. The marketing part can be the most creative and even fun part of the process of getting one’s product into the hands of the consumer. Love your story and your attitude.


    • Hi Erica!
      I’ve been very blessed by Realms/Charisma. They also made my book trailer which is on my website if you have time to visit and on youtube as well. One idea that I plan to use at Book by the Banks is having my video trailer run at the table where I’m signing. What I’d love to see is video’s of all our books running in a central area some year at ACFW. So much fun!

  8. Thanks for sharing. I liked your tip to find the biggest opportunity in your area. I’m doing something similar, setting up a tour in Plain City, the setting for my series. I have a speaking engagement for a mother-daughter tea and their theme goes along with my books. The person who contacted me is getting me into a large Amish gift shop restaurant for a signing and I’m working to add other places to this little tour. If I can develop a following in Plain City, I may use the same setting for my next series. Not sure about this yet.
    Another thing that I do. I have a writing calendar and I also keep a marketing calendar. I put specific goals/to do’s for each month. I make sure that I do those things some time during that month. Monthly goals seem easier than weekly. I also contacted my publisher’s marketing editor to see what their plans were and get their suggestions. I put their suggestions on my calendar and follow them through even when I don’t enjoy it. Such as, visiting every local book store. When I make my publisher aware of what I’m doing, they love assisting and coming alongside.
    Thanks for encouraging us to be brave!

    • Hi Dianne!
      Way to go! You are organized. I still struggle with that area but I’m getting better. Monthly goals are very important. You probably know about the SMART goal concept but I’ll mention here for those who don’t know. S-pecific, M-easurable, A-attainable,
      R-ealistic, T-imely. That helps me set goals that I can really track. Your tour in Plain City sounds like a great idea. I belive Rosslyn Elliott did this also in Ohio when she planned a visit and book-signing. You may want to check out her blog.
      And you hit on a big one when you mentioned contacting your publisher’s marketing director. The folks in sales and marketing have lots of ideas.

      Thanks for sharing with us, Dianne. Great ideas!

  9. Me again.
    I asked Michael Hyatt a question on his blog today since it was titled, Marketing is Dead. 🙂 I’m not sure I grasp the whole Tribes thing yet. Related to fiction Michael referred me to John Locke. I have to admit I found this fascinating and have just purchased Locke’s book called, How I Sold One Million eBooks in Five Months. I’ve got to know this story. 🙂 You may want to check it out too.

  10. I think it helps to remember that when you market your book you’re partnering with your publisher. That tends to help you feel that it’s less about you. You’re not marketing to flatter your ego, you’re marketing to help the response to your product.

    On thing I often do is hand out bookmarks and introduce myself. Just this week I gave one to another lady waiting for her order at the pizzeria. And I give them out in other restaurants, at the bank, Post Office, grocery store–just about anywhere.

    Thanks for this post, Jillian. It got me thinking. 🙂

  11. Hi Megan!
    You are so right about partnering with your publisher. I loved what you said about,” You’re not marketing to flatter your ego, you’re marketing to help the response to your product.” And handing out bookmarks is time consuming but I like the one-on-one. If people have time to talk I like to ask them what they enjoy reading. If I can start a conversation and find out they don’t read what I write I always ask them to pass my bookmark or business card on to someone they think may enjoy it. Glad I got you thinking. 🙂 You got me thinking too. In fact, I’ve been thinking way too much today and I’m going to go drink a hot cup of tea and think some more about energy and see if I can muster some. Just found out I’m getting my line edits tomorrow! 🙂

  12. Thanks for these great ideas. While I haven’t a published book to market yet, some of what you suggest is also applicable to submission attempts, especially that “have courage” bit. 🙂

    • Hi Carol!
      So glad you dropped by to visit. I hadn’t thought about the submission attempts. Keep that courage high and take a deep breath.

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