If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

5 Marketing Lessons I Wish I Had Known Earlier

Today on Salad Bowl Saturday we welcome Paula Petty, a multi-talented lady who today shares some interesting tidbids about marketing she learned the hard way. On her website she attributes these characteristics for herself: A writer. A speaker. An observer of people.

Years ago when I pictured myself sitting at a popular bookstore signing books with the line going out the door, I didn’t have a clue how much marketing it would take to get me to that point.  No one is really aware of the “behind the scenes” task that is before them to be  successful, and we all know that publishing and marketing has changed since I first started writing in 3rd grade some (cough, cough) years ago.

I graduated from the writing school of hard knocks and wish I had known a few things about marketing before I ever began.

Writers need thick skin when marketing. Not everything is going to work. Critics are in plentiful supply. We can’t be marshmallowy and quit marketing and writing because we have critics. If a strategy is not working for me, I’ll find another one.

I need a marketing approach to set me apart from the others. I am working on a cozy-type mystery. My protagonist does a lot of volunteer work and sells lingerie. I am already working on ways to reach those markets.  I assure you it is a different marketing approach from having a protagonist that is a cop. I don’t do book reviews on my blog because I feel so many others are reviewing books that no one will read my book reviews. That is why I chose to interview fictional crime solvers on “Paula’s Coppers.”  It’s different.

Never listen to anyone who does not know what a blog or social media is. Don’t laugh. This has actually happened to me twice. I attended a conference a couple of years ago on the need for agents and self-publishing.  Someone raised the question on the need for a blog or social media. The author didn’t know anything about it and never used it (She had first been published 15 years ago). I felt as if I wasted my time listening to her.  Just this past year a published author was advising me on marketing and said he had heard everyone talk about blogs and didn’t know what it was. Huh?  Whether or not an author chooses to use it is one thing, but she should be familiar enough to know to reject it. I don’t take any marketing advice from those that don’t.

Don’t ignore the little things to market your book or to help create a platform.  I made a huge discovery a couple of weeks ago.  A relative was throwing a surprise party for her husband. I agreed to handle the R.S.V.P’s.  She gave them my email address for the reply. It just so happens that my web address is included in my signature on e-mail. Some of them checked out my website. I know this because when I visited my relatives and saw many of the invitees, they asked me how my mystery was coming along. They told me that they went to the website under my name. That was an unexpected marketing surprise and gave me more fans and potential readers. And to think—just from putting www.paulapetty.com under my name.

In another instance, one of the authors I invited to contribute to “Paula’s Coppers” went to my website to learn about me.  He told me to notify him when I finished my book because he wants to show it to his editor.

Nothing takes the place of good writing. I started working on a marketing plan not long after I started my mystery. The marketing occupied my time and thoughts. I kept thinking what else I could do to build my platform. The creative side of my brain seemed to be overpowered by the marketing side. The stuff I wrote wasn’t worth reading and I knew it.

The best marketing plan in the world does not replace bad writing. Editors and publishers know this.

Marketing is a process that continually changes. I continue to be surprised at what works and what doesn’t. Most lessons are still learned the hard way. I wish I had learned these earlier so that I would be closer to the long lines at signings.

What do you now know about marketing that you wish you had known earlier?
Paula's articles have appeared in The Chattanooga Free Press, Family Connection, and Christian Woman.  Her poetry has been published in Woman's Touch, Christian Woman and Sunshine magazines. Woman's Day and PTA Today have published her tips and ideas. Her Christian novel has just been picked up by a publisher (details to be released on her website when available).

Her current project is a murder mystery about a woman who volunteers to help with a community project. When Sophie Minton volunteered, she didn't mind sweeping, but come on, a dead body? In the closet?

Her website is http://paulapetty.com


Gloria Alden said...

All good ideas for marketing, Paula. Good luck with your mystery when it comes out.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for stopping by our blog. I like your idea of having a niche for your marketing. Clearly one size does not fit all writers.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Thanks for posting with us Paula.

I think you are so right that while marketing we need to be open to serendipity and use it to full advantage.

~ Jim

Paula Petty said...

Gloria - Thank you for your comment. Warren - That is one of the first things I learned. Each writer has strengths to help develop a unique way to market. Jim - You are so right. It can open so many doors. Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

HMC said...

Nothing takes the place of good writing. Well said. Writing another good book helps with sales on all of your books!

Terry Shames said...

Good post, Paula!

One thing I have learned is that no matter how much time you think marketing is going to take--it takes a lot longer! The hard part is that you have to do twice as much as you think might work because you don't know which part is actually going to be useful.

Good luck!

Paula Petty said...

HMC - You are so right. Nothing takes the place of good writing. Thanks for the comment. Terry - Sometimes it seems that the more marketing I do, the more there is to do; but marketing is so important in selling your book. Most of it is trial and error. Thanks for your comment.

Ricky Bush said...

Hey, Paula, we graduated from the same school. Let me know when the Writer's School of Hard Knocks has a reunion. Only if I'd known that writing the book would be the easiest part of the process...then the real work begins.

Margaret Blake said...

I just found out today that it pays to blow your own trumpet, even in a casual way. Just with a few words mentioned in a casual conversation I sold a dozen of my books, on the spot for cash ... and I was only strolling around our local market.

lurkingmusings said...

With reference to not knowing about social media... while it is an important part of modern writing (and anyone is a fool to ignore it) I would argue that there is also a risk that only marketing online is as much of a mistake as not using social media at all. The internet is flooded with writers pushing their books via social media in many and varied ways - some more subtle than others - and this can mean that any individual book might get lost in the deluge. Marketing should therefore consider alternative methods to stand out and I do wonder if those 'out of touch writers' who do not understand social media may have the key to those alternatives?

Rather than not listen, I would say offer an exchange - help with their social media in exchange for some ideas on how to take your marketing strategy out of the computer and back into the real world.

Some excellent points made here.