Monday, September 26, 2011

Marketing Myths Busted

How do authors effectively market their books today? Most blogs and experts will steer writers to social networking through Facebook, Twitter, and starting a blog. 

I am a firm believer in the power of social networking, but only if writers understand how social networking works. Many bloggers have written about keeping the "social" in networking, yet many new-to-publishing (traditional or self-published) authors are still making the same mistakes.

Wendy Lawton, agent and Vice-President of Books & Such Literary Agency, recently wrote "So What's an Author To Do?" (full post is linked) where she busts the myths that all social networking attempts sell books. In it she cautions writers about using Twitter, Facebook, and Blogging as marketing tools:

 "We talked about the drawbacks of Twitter yesterday. Do you know why it doesn’t work for most people? Because everyone sounds like everyone else... The same with Facebook. It’s a community. You need to invest yourself there with as much give as take...You don’t market to Facebook friends. You just live in community, so to speak... I also said blogging to promote books no longer works. Do you remember my exception? 'Exception: The writer who blogs to his/her well-established readership and has something unique and valuable to offer.'"
Wendy then goes on with detailed suggestions on marketing your book today. She summarizes:

"Remember–it is important to be fresh. Once everyone starts doing something it no longer stands out. When thinking about specifics, come up with the next big thing. This is not the time to copy other successes. You want to come up with the idea that causes other writers to say, “I wish I’d thought of that.” Here’s the key to all your marketing efforts: Keep your focus on the three unique elements– the author, the book, and your reader."
Wendy was very clear in the post that social networking does work, if used well. Her post brimmed with wisdom, and I urge you to read it if you haven't had a chance. Also, if you are at all confused on how to effectively build your platform through social media, pick up one of Kristen Lamb's books and follow her terrific blog, Kristen Lamb's Blog.

It's that time again, time to share good news!

Jessica R. Patch recently signed with Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency! I'm so happy for her and thrilled we're agency mates! Congratulations, Jessica!

Jody Hedlund just signed another three-book contract with Bethany House Publishing! This means I have four more books of hers to look forward to. Congratulations, Jody!

And I may have announced it here before, but it's news worth repeating: my awesome critique partner, Wendy Paine Miller, recently signed with Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary Agency! Congratulations, Wendy! I am so proud of you!!

Do you have any good news to share?

Enjoy your Monday!


  1. Yay to Jody, Wendy and Jessica!!!

    Good news to share? Hmm...I have a birthday coming up next month. :-) I guess that's sort of good news. LOL

  2. I've read several great posts refuting Wendy's opinions. There are both camps out there and I find it fun to find everyone rushing to refute each other. When really, we don't know what will sell books other than a great one that clicks with readers.

  3. I loved Wendy's post you refer to here! Excellent!

    And you, excellent.

    So wished I could have hugged you and laughed with you at conference, but I did in my head and that's almost the same thing (well, for a writer anyway).

    Thanks for the mention. Appreciate it and wasn't expecting it, which made it that much cooler to read. And Hooray to Jessica & Jody!

    ~ Wendy

  4. WOW WOW WOW! So many exciting things happening right now!!! I stopped in after someone tweeted about this (apparently you're marketing is working)!!!

    Congratulations on all the fabulous success of those newly agented and those selling books like hot cakes!!!! Let's hope I'm taking away some win as well :)

  5. Jennifer: Happy birthday in advance!! I just celebrated one and for once I didn't whine about my age but was just thankful to be this age!

    Laura: Hot topic! Yeah, I'm with you. I think we are all looking for the "sure thing" when it comes to marketing, but other than a great book and doing our best to get our name out there, I don't know what works. :)

    Wendy: Oh, I wish I could have hugged and danced with you too! Thank you! And I loved Wendy's post, too!

    Jen: Well, welcome, and thank you! I appreciate your kind words! You are definitely taking away some win!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. Wonderful advice! I will have to start applying it as my debut novel "Shadows" releases this Saturday - October 1st - through Harbourlight Books.

    Thank you! :)

  7. Congrats to Jessica, Jody, and Wendy! Very exciting for them. And thanks for linking to the other Wendy's post. I'm still learning the marketing deal, and it seems to me an author has to have a combo of a lot of things to make it work.

  8. That post of Wendy's was awesome, wasn't it? Thanks for expanding on it, Jill!

  9. Congrats to all the good news. I'm looking forward to some of my own (one of these days!!!) Great, informative post. Thanks for the insights.

  10. Michael: Congratulations! You're the second person today I congratulated on selling to Harbourlight!

    Stacy: Absolutely. Passing out bookmarks isn't going to make us a best-seller, but passing them out, starting a newsletter, being active on FB--the combination is what helps us sell. :)

    Sarah: I bookmarked it. It has so many great ideas!

    Patrice: And I'm looking forward to when I can shout out good news for you, Patrice!!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  11. Happy Birthday to Laura and you too, Jill. (Belated, but I just found out :)
    My one thought on B-days: if you're not your age then you are not.

    Great thoughts on social networking; my best education on this has been thru Kristen Lamb's books and blog!

    Thanks for a great post!

  12. Congratulations to Jessica, Jody and Wendy! I love reading about good news.

    My good news? I like my book. Right now, that's as good as it gets. :)

  13. So very very true Jill. I'm constantly helping people understand social media and the first instinct everyone has is to treat it as a broadcast medium. It usually a long struggle to get them to accept that it's about the community, the social interactions between people. Not the ROI. Not the Sale. When we're engaged in these activities we're out to make connections, meet new like-minded and supportive friends. You don't need to tell your friends to check out your latest post, you don't need to tell them to buy your book or let others know. They're your friends, they'll be happy to share the news without your prodding.

    If you grow an authentic community, they'll be your friends, they'll be your support.

  14. Thanks for this post, Jill! I look forward to reading more in the link that you kindly provided! Thanks so much!

  15. And by the way: Here's an article by marketing guru Rob Eager that offers way to market your book offline:


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