Tuesday, December 18, 2012

7 Marketing Tips for Authors

Top 7 Marketing Tips for Authors  
© 2012 H. M. Schuldt

Would you like to take a look at marketing tips for authors over the next few weeks? If so, let’s dig in.

Have you mastered the basic query letter? If so, do you follow the “Fisherman Query”?

Casting the Fishing Line –Spelling errors in your first paragraph is like a fisherman who throws the entire fishing pole into the water. Your first paragraph should be interesting enough for your reader to continue reading. You won’t know if you get a bite until you can get the fishing pole to work.

Stink Bait - In the second paragraph, convince the fish why your story is interesting.

Feel the Tug – Make sure your fish has something significant to chew on in the third paragraph. Story details, story length, and promotion abilities give a nice flavor.

Marvel at Your Big Catch – Confirm your qualifications in the fourth and final paragraph.

EXTRA TIPS: You might be fishing on the wrong side of the lake. You might just need a new fishing pole. You might even need to get some new bait. Keep track of where you sink a line.

Have you pitched your dynamite to a national magazine yet? 

You might be more comfortable starting with the small fireworks. After sending your sparklers to the local trade magazines, you might be ready to send your dynamite to national magazines hungry for FOB. 

EXTRA TIPS: In magazine publishing, the FOB means front of the book. Yes, the magazine is referred to as a book. Make sure your dynamite is the right size for the FOB, typically magazine editors will love 50 to 400 words.

Do you know if you are selling to Martians?

When I finish reading a really good story, I often think about what type of person would like to read it. You might know a lot about Pluto, but the people on Venus might not be interested in Pluto stories. The next time you hear about Martians who want to read a story about water and rocks, think twice before you turn your head to write about gas on Jupiter.

EXTRA TIPS: While you might be knowledgeable about gas on Jupiter, you might find a bigger audience of readers on Mars. Do a little homework to discover how Martians can welcome your Jupiter knowledge.  


The bottom line is that one editor, publisher, or literary agent might be interested in your story, while another one isn’t. Don’t give up telling your story in a pitch. When you go to sell your story, it’s not a time to play hide and seek. Are your pitches stuffed away in a cave where no one will see them? Does your pitch look like hieroglyphs? Have you tried memorizing your story summary? Have you tried out your summary on the people around you? Are you a “drive by” pitcher, shouting your story out the window, but not sticking around to see who responds? I met one author who wrote such a vague summary because they were afraid they might give away the story. It’s one thing to hide your pitch from the wolves, but it’s another thing entirely when the author has to be clear in order to sell the story.

EXTRA TIPS: A pitch is a summary of your story, the type of summary that sells your story. Try writing a 25 word pitch and a 200 word summary of your story, and ask yourself, would you buy it? Try it out on the people around you. 


Have you been able to toot your own horn? Find a way to balance your interview skills with clarity and confidence. To some people, you might sound like you’re bragging. Ignore those ignorant people who don’t understand the need to tell others about accomplishments. Have you prepared something to say? Are you ready? Have you practiced? Think about what you are saying to others, what you are writing to others about yourself, and what kind of an impression you are making. Do you wait for others to introduce you, or can you introduce yourself? If you were your own best fan, what would you want to hear yourself say? Imagine that the power button is on, and the bull horn has been handed to you. What is it that you are going to say in order to market your book? Stop complaining. Stop making excuses. Get on the bull horn with a purpose.

EXTRA TIPS: Just like a shooter will go out and practice shooting at targets, an author should practice telling others about their book before they miss the opportunity. Are you ready for the bull horn to come by your way? Go stand in front of a mirror and practice, or make a recording of your own pitch. Does it sound interesting to you?


So, you are already on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Amazon, and possibly several other social media networks. Then why isn’t your hot book selling? It could be that you are taxiing around on the ground in your airplane when you should be taking flight. Find out how to get in the social loop, more effectively. It could be that while you were taxiing around, your airplane fell into a pothole. Stay away from trouble, dead ends, and ditches. Are you waiting for someone else to fly your plane? Don’t. Did you get carried away trying to find the pot at the end of the rainbow? Get back on track by overseeing the process of media interviews and presenting yourself as a professional. Get exposure, yes, but stay away from bad publicity firms that will suck $2,000 to $10,000 a month from you without giving you any results.

EXTRA TIPS: Make the steps necessary to promote your book by knowing how to send out a media blast. Stop shouting, “Buy my book!” Stop shouting, “Give me a five star rating!” No one wants to feel cornered. Compelling ideas will make producers knock on your door. They want to increase their ratings. They don’t want to work with curmudgeons.


I just found out last year that I don’t have the best author website . . . yet.

If you are anything like me, you are an author willing to learn how to have a more effective website, and you are taking the steps one at a time to get there.
First, make a commitment to a specific plan, and make use of your time. Next, use a professional headshot. It is proven that a happy face is more likely to get the job. In a nut shell, the rest of your website includes the following: a home page, a bio, a press page, your books, your links. Okay, it can get more involved than that. The rest of your website might include a blog, interaction, a free excerpt, podcasting, YouTube, book trailers, a fan page, and possibly more. Get ready for the marathon of website maintenance.

EXTRA TIPS: Know your audience. For me, my audience currently consists of three different types of people. It is suggested to blog anywhere from twice a month to once a week.


  1. Interesting. I'll be keeping up with what's to come.

  2. HM, I like your post, and great strategy to get readers back to your site. I also have writing and online marketing site, you can check out Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

    There's a free ebook on the sidebar!


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