So You Have to Market…

By Guest Author, Julie B. Cosgrove

Most authors shudder at the word “marketing.” By nature, many of us are introverted. We are most comfortable seated at our computers, talking with the characters in our heads. It is how we communicate best―through the written word.

However, in the literary realm today where indie-pubbed writers, small publishing houses, and the big guys are all clamoring for attention, we can’t rely on someone else tooting our horn. Sure, your friends may post or tweet that your novel or self-help book is the best ever and they couldn’t put it down. But to be honest, isn’t that what most great reviews say? How can readers trust that these posts speak the truth? It is well known that some reviews are by commissioned freelance writers who probably never read more than the synopsis or back cover blurb, though sites like Amazon have made efforts to weed these false testimonies out.

Like it or not, every author must market themselves as well as their writing. Readers want to like you first, then your book. Savvy salesmen state you cannot make a sale unless you know what someone wants to buy. When you appeal to their personal interests, whether they buy or not, they are more likely to recommend you to their friends because you have made a connection. You have shown you care about them as a human being. This is true for books as well as cars and vacuum cleaners.

But how do you shout into the wind and get heard?

Forget social media – it is flooded! I even scroll past authors’ promotions. There are simply too many, as there are too many commercials for snacks, hair products or jewelry. The original purpose of social media didn’t involve advertising. It was designed to help people connect. (Recall the salesman’s advice?)

So, if you do engage, then truly ENGAGE! Join pages or pins that fit the genre or themes of your book. Communicate at least three times a week for a half hour twice a day. Leave comments in the morning, then check back and continue the conversations in the evening. That’s when others are most likely to be viewing as well.

Read books by other authors who write in your genre and promote them honestly, remembering what grandma said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” More than likely you will make some great, loyal author friends who will then tell their readers. Word of mouth still works.

By doing these two things on social media, you have narrowed your audience to those who are more likely to perk up their ears come launch day. Why broadcast seeds when you can find fertile soil in which to plant?

However, the absolute best way to market is not Facebook, but face to face. It’s old school, but it really works. I actually sell more books within the twenty minutes after I speak than I do over several weeks on social media.

OK, yes. I am an introvert, too. I understand the fluttering bolder in your gut right now. But I love writing, and I want to make a bit of money for my effort. So I suck it up and get out there. And you know what? It’s never as awful as I envisioned. I’ve never had anyone show up with a bag of rotten tomatoes. Most are there because they want to learn more. More often than not, I drive away with a smile across my face.

If you join a public speaking group like Toastmasters and learn to speak on a topic surrounding your book, then you will find that, after your 15-20 minute speech, the audience will line up to buy your book. Why? They have gotten to know you, like you now, and trust you.

Bookfests really do not work anymore because browsers are often overwhelmed to see 50-100 authors all sitting behind tables with hungry looks in their eyes. But if you try it, bring a friend to man your booth as you mix and mingle. It makes a huge difference.

Meet Julie B. Cosgrove

Hometown Guest Author Headshot

Julie B. Cosgrove is a multi-published award-winning author who lives in Fort Worth. Besides having eleven books published and three more under contract, she is also a freelance inspirational writer for several publications, ministries, and websites, as well as a professional workshop leader.


Follow her blog at Learn more about her writing and ministry at her website

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

  • Great article, filled with good, practical advice. Thank you!

  • Wow, this article hots the mark. Especially in the realm of social media. Once I published, even with almost 5000 followers there was no traction. Another friend on Twitter with over 130K followers made a recommendation and pft….nothing.

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