Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Tale of Two Books

The Marketing Difference

Plan to Sell


A strong narrative voice, memorable characters, engaging dialog, strong action, scenes that move the story forward are part of the craft of storytelling. At the same time a writer needs to start learning marketing skills.

Without marketing a book will languish. Every author needs to plan to market and plan time each day to engage in marketing activities. The sooner an author begins incorporating marketing into his activities, the better the book will fare when it is published.

A little over two months ago I helped two authors get their books on Amazon. One author embraced marketing and the other said he was a writer and didn’t want to do marketing.

Both books had certain elements in common: a strong narrative voice, memorable characters, with action and strong dialog.

The author of Book 1 knew very little about marketing but he wanted his books to sell. He started taking action.
  • he began writing the next book
  • he did promotions on Kindle
  • he set up social media sites on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+
  • he interacted with others on social media
  • he started a blog and shared each post with social media
  • he started an email list and gave away a free book which he wrote just for the promotion as an incentive
  • he sent regular notices to his email list with promotions and news about upcoming books

Once people started recognizing him as a person they
  • began sharing his books when they came out
  • leaving reviews on Amazon
  • buying the next book
  • writing personal messages about what the book meant to them on social media

With sales and reviews, Amazon started listing the book in Categories and suggesting the book to buyers who purchased similar books. A book need to sell 10 copies to show up on “also-bought” list or to show up in categories like noteworthy.
Now, the author receives a monthly royalty payment each month.







Today, the author who taught himself marketing is enjoying being an author. He looks forward to each book he writes.

The author of Book 2 did nothing. He said he would find an agent and let them do all the work. The agents he contacted asked him about his marketing plan. He didn’t have one. They didn’t take on the book.

Today, this author has sold no copies of the book, even with a backlist of other books.



If you have left designing your marketing plan out of your scheduled activities, now is the time to start.
  • set up your web page
  • get your book on social media
  • engage with others
  • create a mailing list
  • encourage reviews

You don’t have to start knowing everything. Just start. The author of book one had never written a twitter post, or reached out to fans on Facebook. He learned as he practiced. Now he writes notes to fans on his author page, is comfortable chatting with readers in email or online, and has done two live author interviews.

Start planning. Take action. Keep writing.

Zara Altair