Marketing is A Four Letter Word

By Guest Author, Dana Wayne

When I began this journey to published author, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I only knew I loved to write and desperately wanted to get my first book out there. Honestly, I thought writing was hard…until I tried to market what I wrote.

There was so much I didn’t know about that process and too few people to ask. After a few web searches and conversations with other writers, I just dove into the deep end and have struggled to keep my head above water ever since.

I have learned a lot; some of it the hard way, but three things stand out for me:

  1. It is the single most time-consuming (and vital) part of the publishing puzzle.
  2. It begins months before your book is published.
  3. It never ends.

You’ve written a great story, but you must get the word out and keep getting it out to be successful. If you are fortunate enough to have someone do the marketing for you, congratulations. But, for most indie authors, we do it all – write, edit, publish and promote, usually on a shoestring budget.

A common thread I have found in my research is fan interaction. What can you do to interact with fans more? I got these suggestions from a Google search: allow fans a preview of your next book, pick a fan of the month, host a contest to name a character, pick a title, or get advance copies. How about a fan page for your characters and letting the fans ‘talk’ with them?

Think Outside the Box

And just as important, outside your community. Once you have sold to your friends and family, that market is gone. Like ripples in a pond when you toss a rock, you want to go outside your area.

Social media and online sales are great but there is nothing like meeting a reader in person. Decide how far out you are willing to go then start looking for opportunities. A call to the local chamber of commerce or a Google search will tell you events taking place. Pick one you like and go for it. If you write romance, you probably wouldn’t want a gun and knife show, but some type of arts and crafts show might work. Can your book be tied to a particular event or cause? Can you team up with another author or two and donate a portion of sales to a cause?

Think outside the box. Not every event will be successful, but your name will be out there, and you may make a contact that will lead to something else.

Regardless of which event you choose, you will be expanding the ripples, growing your fan base and increasing your visibility.

Appearance matters; your setup matters. Don’t just stack books on the table and expect folks to be enticed to buy.

Take time to ensure your display is neat and tastefully arranged, not cluttered. Limit free items to useful things such as keychains, pens, and notepads. Ensure you have a book for folks to sign up for your email group. Set out a bowl of individually wrapped candies to get people to stop at your table. But no chocolate; it melts.

The Bottom Line 

There are limitless ways to increase your visibility and spread the word about your work. The only limitations are the time, effort and sometimes money, you are willing to invest. It will be an on-going project requiring constant attention and participation to be successful.


Meet Dana Wayne

Hometown Guest Author Headshot

Dana Wayne is a sixth generation Texan and resides in the Piney Woods with her husband and biggest fan, a Calico cat named Katie, three children and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks at book clubs, writers groups and other organizations, and is a frequent guest on numerous writing blogs.


Her debut novel, Secrets of The Heart, was awarded First Place – Contemporary Romance, 2017 by Texas Association of Authors, was a finalist for the 2017 Scéal Award for Contemporary Romance, Reviewers Top Pick and selected as a Top 10 Books to Read This Winter from Books & Benches online magazine. Her second novel, Mail Order Groom was released in April, 2017, received 5-Star Reviews from Readers Favorite and Books & Benches online magazine and 4.5 Stars with the Golden Heart symbol from In’Dtale Magazine. Her third book, Whispers on The Wind, is a romantic suspense released in March, 2018.


Affiliations include Romance Writers of America, Texas Association of Authors, Writers League of Texas, East Texas Writers Guild, Northeast Texas Writers Organization, and East Texas Writers Association.


She can be reached through her website or via email at

About Becky Robinson

Becky is the founder and CEO of Weaving Influence, the founder of Hometown Reads, and a champion of the #ReadLocal Movement.

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What People Are Saying

  • Thank you so much for having me here today!

    • Hi Dana,
      I too am a Texas author. It was nice to read your post on marketing. I used to dread having to market and promote my books, but once I started, I realized how much fun it could be. I love meeting with people face to face: at conferences, book signing, writing classes, or book presentations and talking about writing and publishing. The a great way to build a fan base.

  • Great advice! Thank you for sharing!

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