Be Generous and Strategic in Book Marketing

A Sustainable Approach to Author Marketing

Many authors are overwhelmed by the idea of marketing their books. The learning curve is high, and much of it seems foreign. I’ve found that approaching marketing from a perspective of generosity changes everything about how it feels. This is the advice I give to new authors.

Before I started writing books, I had a career in marketing. As a result, I often speak about book marketing to various groups of writers.

Sometimes the writers all belong to a single genre (like Sisters in Crime). Sometimes everyone is self-publishing, but writing in different genres. And sometimes, as at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, people write in all genres, following various paths to publication.

Here’s the catch when speaking to diverse audiences: a tactic that works for one author won’t necessarily work for another.

Heck, the same marketing tactics don’t perform evenly across my own four books.

Tactics are highly specific, but strategy has a broader reach.

There’s one book marketing strategy that works for every writer, no matter how you’re published or what your genre: be generous and strategic.

Generous and strategic

  • If you are generous without being strategic, you will burn out.
  • If you are always strategic and never generous, others may burn out on you.

Find those marketing tactics that meet both requirements and that fit easily into your life.

Here are a few suggestions that I offered a recent, mixed audience of writers:

  1. Show up as a podcast guest, offering valuable information to listeners while helping the host reach a broad audience. (Guest blogging can do the same thing. )
  2. Review other books in your field, then share those reviews on your blog and on social media. That’s generous to the other authors and readers, and strategic in building a relationship with those readers. If you cannot afford to buy the books, consider signing up as a reviewer on NetGalley.
  3. Sign up as a potential source on HARO (Help-a-Reporter) and help journalists and bloggers by providing useful content and expertise.

Each of these tasks is relatively easy to do and has no up-front financial investment. Each gives you valuable information to share with your email list, on your blog, and on social media. And each potentially expands your reach and builds ongoing relationships with others in your field.

Plus, they’re fun.

Being generous is rewarding in and of itself; being generous while building your author platform is even better.

Don’t forget the email list

Your email list can (and should) be generous and strategic as well.

I send every-other-week updates to my Writing Practices list.

Ideally, these updates provide value to the readers. I also offer drawings for writing-related books on this list-another act of generosity.

Strategically, the people on this list support me and send me their writing problems. I benefit from the regular blogging deadline and the forum for writing about different topic areas.

Do you have other examples of generous and strategic marketing strategies? Please share them in the comments.

Related posts The Best Book Marketing Advice I Ever Got

Originally published at on December 11, 2019.

Author, Writing Coach: Writing about Marketing, Technology, and Writing Itself (very meta).

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