Marketing Tools

Hi Writers,

Sorry for the brief lapse in postings. I’ve had a cold for the past few days and am afraid that anything I might have posted would have sounded a little uninspired.

One of my intentions with this blog is to begin with simple marketing strategies and build upon those ideas to offer you more specific solutions. I’ve been reading a marketing book by Ilise Benun and Peleg Top of the consulting firm This particular book was written with designers in mind, but as I’ve said marketing is communication and the ideas in the book are great no matter what it is you have to market (which leads me to another thought, just like with your writing, look for your marketing ideas all around you–my book on monsters has actually been selling really well at a local car-wash of all places… how weird is that?)

But I digress. The book I’m reading, The Designer’s Guide to Marketing & Pricing, discusses simple, effective and inexpensive marketing tools that you can use to get started: Networking, E-mail Marketing, Online Presence, Cold Call, Promotional Piece 

Let’s explore how each of these tools may be used by a writer to market their work.


Try to attend a couple of events each month. Writing conferences, writing workshops or book clubs are a great place to start. If you write about a particular topic try to attend meetings or conferences related to your subject (for example, let’s say you write historical fiction, perhaps attending a genealogy group meeting might be a good idea).

E-mail Marketing

Maintain an email list of contacts, family and friends and send them email updates about your work. If you have a book out, let them know how it’s doing. If you an article published somewhere, let them know when it’s going to come out. Keep those close you informed and chances are they’ll help spread the word for you without you even having to ask.

Online Presence

I won’t belabor this since I’ve talked about it in previous posts. Let’s just say that a blog or a website is essential. If you don’t have one, start one. If you have one, make regular posts (he says after taking 4 days off from posting).

Cold Calls

Ick. Maybe you hate doing this. I know I do. But, even as a writer you can use this. Call up your local newspaper, area college newspapers, local radio and TV stations. Let them know about your book. Even if you have a publicist who says they’re doing this for you, calling them up can’t hurt. Of course, be polite. Be patient and courteous. If you charm them, maybe they’ll be interested in doing a feature on you.

Promotional Pieces

Make yourself business cards and carry them with you (especially if you do freelance writing.) You never know who might need something written or edited. If you attend a conference maybe make some flyers that showcase the things you’ve written or have your website or blog address on them. And make sure you put all your info on there (urls for website or blog, email address, list of books you’ve written, etc). I recently created a flyer with all kinds of great info: all my available books, my website, my blogs, and I forgot my email address (boy, I felt stupid). Oh, and one other thing… your book. If you have a book, it’s the best promotional piece you have. Don’t be stingy with them. Send out as many review copies as you can afford to (target newspapers, magazines, radio stations, bloggers, or any other media you can think of that might have an interest in your topic.)

These ideas are great way to kick off your marketing plan, even if you have limited resources starting out. I’d love to hear your comments about these ideas: if you’ve had good luck using one of these kinds of tools, or if you have another cheap marketing tool that’s worked well for you.

Good luck.

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2 thoughts on “Marketing Tools

  1. Elaine Klonicki

    To S Miller: I know just what you mean. It’s always been hard for me to sell myself, but I’ve put myself out there more this last year than ever in order to sell my books. I find that a compromise works for me. I do probably less than I should, but more than I’m comfortable with. Most people really do respond well to the attention. When I show people my book and they ask where they can get it, I always say, "You can buy that one in your hand if you’d like, and I’ll sign it for you." For some reason this seems to excite them. If I don’t get a reaction, I continue by saying, "Or you can purchase it online–here’s my business card with the website address."

  2. S Miller

    Glad you are doing better Scott. My comment deviates a little from your blog post, but I think the biggest hurdle for me is spot lighting myself and my work. I recently had an associate send me an email with everyone she knew in her send box, I did a mass reply ("reply all") with some legitimate information for all to see, but I attached my signature block with my website address to the email. I felt bad for a moment, but then realized, boldness is what it is going to take to market my book.