A Book Marketing Retreat

On Wednesdays, the authors here at the WSWC blog write about book marketing.

As I prepared to write this post, I thought about the marketing I do every day. I wondered if those activities are unique to me, or if they are common to fellow authors.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a WordServe Water Cooler retreat where we could combine our strengths in an effort to multiply our knowledge? When I close my eyes, I imagine all of us coming together in one place.

We’re in a retreat center, far from distractions, but close enough to nature where we could take breaks in a hot tub, forest, or dining room. I guess what’s coming to my mind is The Hideaway near Monument, between Colorado Springs and Denver. (In my former life, I was a Creative Memories Unit Leader and we had many scrapbooking retreats here.)

So play along, in your mind’s eye: Pull up an Adirondack chair, grab a cool glass of raspberry tea and a lemon scone, and dream with me.

A Stock Photo of Two Red Adirondeack Chairs

At our retreat, each person would be responsible for giving a short talk about the ordinary tasks they do to market their books. Just because an activity is mundane to me doesn’t mean other authors are aware of it, or understand how and why to do it. For example, today I learned Instagram wasn’t just a photo enhancing app. It’s a social media site too. If every author shared their regular activities, we would all benefit.

For instance, each day I check my Google Reader (*Google Reader is ending June 30th, so I’ve switched to Feedly). I have about 60 blogs I subscribe to which feature material related to my brand of selfcare. Feedly compiles all my unread posts in one place. When I have time, I skim the posts. Ninety percent of the time they aren’t worth noting, but occasionally I land on a gem. I email myself the link (because usually I’m downstairs in my pajamas looking from my iPad). I post these on my Facebook and Twitter pages later.

*As an aside, it’s important to be giving your audience material other than you own.

Here are the other daily marketing activities I do:

  • I take a glance at my Google analytics just to see which of my blog posts are getting read and where my hits are coming from.
  • I do a quick search on Twitter under “#selfcare.” I try to re-tweet some of those posts, for the benefit of my followers and as a way to attract new followers.
  • I scroll through my Facebook page and share any posts I think would be helpful to my friends and fans.

Then at our WordServe author retreat, each person would share some of the less ordinary marketing activities they do. These don’t have to be remarkable. Instead, these are the activities you do from time to time, or even once, that might spur the imaginations of the other authors.

For instance:

  • I might post an article or photo to my Pinterest boards. I have boards about my self, my favorite books, counseling, videos, etc.
  • I queried IdeaMensch to do a feature story about me. A year later they let me do a guest blog post and a book giveaway.
  • I did two giveaways on Goodreads. This was a fabulous way to get thousands of readers to at least look at my book and put it on their reading list, while they registered to win a copy. (*In order to take part in the giveaways, your book has to be within six months of its release date and it has to be a paperback.)
  • I submitted blog posts to Michael Hyatt’s blog, which has hundreds of thousands of readers. He let me write a guest post two different times.
  • I volunteered to be a special marketing contributor for The Dr Phil show. Though my own book and brand are a priority, it won’t hurt to have this experience and attention.

If every author shared the regular and irregular activities they do to market their books, we would reap huge benefits.

So, let’s pretend we’re curled up someplace cozy. Whether or not you are a WordServe author, would you share some of your best marketing ideas? 

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16 thoughts on “A Book Marketing Retreat

  1. Hi Lucille,
    Looks like you are doing a fabulous job at marketing. Oh, please pass that pitcher of tea. Thanks. Mmm. That’s refreshing. Love the view. It’s awesome that you did a couple blog posts over at Michael Hyatt’s blog. Great idea! I’m a Tweet freak. I like to send out links that I find interesting to my tweet peeps. I’m currently trying to get a better idea of how to use Goodreads to my advantage and Pinterest. I like it there too and I believe it’s important to make marketing fun. I can tell when it’s not fun and then I back off.

    I’m going to try a new idea on my website and have a journal available in the next month. I see the journal as my place to let my hair down and put my feet up on that Adirondack chair as opposed to my blog which I’ll be using less often, GASP. It may result in total failure as a social media tool, but it’s more . . . me, if that makes sense. 🙂 Um, any Cinnamon scones around here?

    • Hmmm, cinnamon scones! Gillian, I like your idea of a journal. I’d love to hear how that goes. Thank you for your comments.

  2. You are busy! how about a Wikipedia page and book trailers? I have not created them but they’re on my summer to do list. Like learning to use this iPad!

    • I have never thought of a Wiki page. My marketing gal talked about short video promos in place of a trailer. Thank you Kay.

  3. I’m still editing my memoir, my other book needs rewriting from a different focus with a platform I can support, but these marketing hints are helpful. There is also pre-publishing marketing. I have subscribed to helpful sites and store away marketing tips and tips for the launching of my book. I comment and subscribe to author sites (not just my genre) and try to be a good friend on the web. I give positive reviews to books that I like (but shun giving negative reviews), As I further my education by taking writing classes with authors whenever finances permit, figuring that will also provide contacts for the future. And I am trying to write the best book possible so agents and editors will be intrigued.

    • Heather, that’s a really good idea: to consider marketing well ahead of time. I tried to do that was well. Blessing on your memoir.

  4. Here is an interesting observation that struck me this year. Since being published in late 2009, I’ve been touring and doing events across 13 states. I talk to thousands of people, most of whom buy my books. At the end of each event season, my husband and I review each venue individual and in the broader scope. What struck us after this year’s season – is not a single person who said they heard of me or my books mentioned reviews or blogs. We always ask so we can determine the most effective marketing, yet the answer falls into 4 categories – “word of mouth” from a friend or family member, seeing my name on the speaker program so they checked out my website, visited my booth the previous year and now returned to buy my books, or their child saw my books at the event and became excited.

    This surprised us – that in 4 years, we couldn’t recall anyone saying they purchased my books based upon reviews, any particular blog or a social media site! For all the effort put into promotion and marketing in today’s technological society – word of mouth still rules! The next most common answer – my personal credibility by being visible. This tells me people want to make a connection that is real, and why I encourage authors to go out into their local communities and establish a rapport. Some may argue social media in helpful to reach a wider audience, but in my case, it’s more useful after making direct contact.

    • I think what you are saying is so true Shawn. Word of mouth still rules and writing good books is still the best way to sell. Sounds like you really work hard touring and getting in front of others. Good job!

    • Shawn, that is fascinating. You know how they say people have to hear your name seven times before they actually consider buying or using your service. I wonder if a blog or website helps with name recognition. Thanks for your comments.

      • A blog is a helpful tool, and I had one for 4 years with hundreds of followers. However, with the increasing demands of events and travel, I had to shut down, as I wasn’t able to maintain it at a level it required.

  5. Fabulous post! Thanks for sharing what you do to market your book. This question has been on my mind lately, and this “retreat” was very helpful. Mmmm… raspberry tea and lemon scones 🙂

    • Hey Jessica, thanks for taking a moment to comment here. I’m glad you found this post to be helpful.

  6. Love this post, but even more so, count me in on that retreat!

    Your book, Renewed is simply amazing, and I hope however you market, the message makes it into many hands, and is absorbed by many minds.

  7. What a great post. Thanks for sharing. I love the idea of a retreat!
    I’ve been using a lot of these things already, but I have also found some new ones.

    A few things I have done to market my book is I made a book trailer, free desktop backgrounds and other downloads for my fans, I am also going to do a Goodreads giveaway. I am also doing a facebook party with giveaways, behind the scenes tidbits, trivia etc.

  8. Pingback: The weekly roundup – Part 3: On marketing, promotion, publicity | Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

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