Monday, 10 January 2011

A guest posting - great marketing advice from LInda Faulkner

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Bill. I want to announce, right up front, that my request to appear here was based on purely selfish motives, namely to promote my new book, Taking the Mystery Out of Business: 9 Fundamentals for Professional Success. It was released earlier this month and is available all over the place—just check out my website for more details.

I also want to state that if you’re a writer and you hesitate to take advantage of all your friends, acquaintances, and anyone who so much as gives you the time of day—you’re missing the boat from a promotional standpoint. Writing a saleable book is the easy part of writing—and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. It’s also the fun part and it probably takes less time than all the other duties and responsibilities we writers assume if we want to get our precious books in the hands of eager readers.

My “day” job has involved working in sales and marketing for over thirty years. I don’t have a problem with the promotional end of being a writer. It does, however, take me as much time and effort as it takes everyone else. So, because I really enjoy Bill’s blog, his followers, and the entertainment you folks provide on a weekly basis, here are some tips for those of you who either abhor the marketing/promotional end of writing or who would like some free advice:

1. You MUST tell everyone you encounter that you’re a writer. I still haven’t figured out why, but lots of people are impressed with writers. Sure, some people won’t be impressed. Some people don’t like the kind of stuff you write. Other people can’t read. They’re not the ones who count—from a promotional perspective, that is. It’s the people who adore writers and bask in the reflected glory of writers you need to reach. Can’t find ‘em if you’re not looking for ‘em.

2. You MUST seek every promotional opportunity available, such as online opportunities (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, My Space, Goodreads, blogging, a website, guest blogging, etc.), local events (radio and TV appearances, book signings, workshops at the library, etc.), and the unconventional. My latest book is a business book, so I’m promoting it to businesses by seeking occasions to provide complimentary 15 to 30 minute workshops in exchange for the opportunity to sell my book. I also have postcards printed and ask (okay, bribe) family members to pass them out. The bribe part comes into play when I give them a free copy of the book if they personally hand-deliver or mail at least 25 postcards to their friends, business associates, and total strangers. Oh, I also beg all my friends who have blogs to let me to appear. If I haven’t reached out to you yet, feel free to send me an invitation.

3. You MUST be generous. If you want other people to promote you, you must promote them. Example: my Author Exchange Blog, which I started months before my first book appeared in print. If any of you would like to make a guest appearance on it, or would like to send me announcements and other stuff, just check it out and shoot me an e-mail Be sure to mention you’re a friend of Bill’s—that gets you preferential treatment. Seriously.

4. You must be persistent, you must have a thick skin, and you must operate from the mindset that what you’re doing is both fun and beneficial. Otherwise, promotion will become a chore and—with all my sales and marketing experience, I promise you this: if you hate what you’re doing, it will communicate itself to the people you’re talking to and will negatively affect your efforts.

If you have a specific question about any business aspect of writing (or any other profession), I will be happy to spotlight you and your question on my Taking the Mystery Out of Business blog. Just shoot me an e-mail.

Another option is to post your question here and wait for my answer.


  1. Excellent advice Linda. I know you say it's all written out of self-interest but sharing these tips with us is generous and, if I weren't such a lazy bugger, I'd be more fastidious in following them. I hope the book sells well - you're certainly giving it every chance.

  2. Great advice, thanks Linda. Maybe it's partly a British thing, but self-promotion is a bit of a stumbling block for some of us.

    Since my fist novel is coming out with a Canadian publisher in May, and I've been taking part in a few US forums, I'm getting better at it and aim to do even more before the date.

    However, it's timely advice. I just missed out on becoming a regular blogger on one of our publisher's blogs because I held back too long (I'll get a spot eventually and will share one now and then). But one of the newest US writers immediately grabbed the opportunity. Lesson learned.

  3. I agree about the British thing Rosemary, and you're right to suggest it's silly and we should overcome this reluctance.

  4. Rosemary: I'm glad my advice proved helpful. I suspect that most of us writers prefer the company of our computers, cats, dogs, and imaginations to those of a large crowd! (I include myself in this group, however, life didn't allow me to work from home until just this year!) Good luck with your marketing for this book in May and do consider sending me something for the Author Exchange Blog to help with your efforts!

  5. Bill: There you go ... the topic for your next blog post. :)

  6. Linda, I've been trying to find a way to get that message across! Sometimes people listen when it's told to them in a different way. This was forwarded to me by one of the members of my "posse" and I'm instructing all of them to get over here and read it. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for the kind offer, Linda - I might just take you up on that nearer the time!

  8. Sunny, thanks for the cross-promotion. Don't you just love it when other people agree with you?

    Rosemary, I'll look forward to hearing from you again.

  9. I'm relatively sure I drive my family and friends crazy, but this is exactly what I do. And I would do the same for them under similar circumstances. I'm really excited about what you had to say because it makes me feel that I'm actually doing something right.

    Thank you!

  10. Marja,

    Woo hoo! So glad you're doing things right. (And for the people you're driving crazy ... now you have proof you're doing it in black and white.)

  11. I really loved this post and I will be looking into buying your book. :) I can never get enough advice when it comes to promoting my own book and getting more readers interested. And your write... people do get totally impressed when you tell them your a writer. I almost want to say it's because they either 1) never meet writers or 2) want to be in your next book. Do you get that question a lot? I sure do. Anyways! Lots of positive energy...

    <3's and Fangs,
    Liz ^_^

  12. Great post, Linda. I was just reading the blogpost of a friend who just published. She has been promoting herself 'as if' for years when many of her peers were saying what's SHE got to promote? She does everything you mentioned here and more, and she started way before she was actually published. Good luck with the book

  13. Elizabeth, people actually pay to have their names (or those of their pets) used in books. Some best-selling writers auction the offer and give the proceeds to charity.

    Martie, your point about starting early is dead right. Best to make the whole marketing process a natural part of your writing from the start. It's part of being professional.

  14. Elizabeth: Thanks for your kind words. I suspect part of the reason so many people seem to be charmed by writers is that nearly everyone has a "story" to tell and a lot of people have [what they believe to be] "terrific" ideas for a book. Either they lack the confidence to attempt to tell it in writing, or they have tried and haven't been able to accomplish their goal.

    In fact, my own doctor has been sharing his idea for a "terrific" book with me for years now in an all-out attempt to convince me to take his project on.

    Whatever the reason, we're lucky so many others beileve writers are special. I sure wasn't the object of such adoration as an insurance agent!

  15. Martie,

    Thanks for your comments.

    You and Bill are correct to say that a writer can never start marketing himself or herself too soon. I've published both my books with small presses and each of them told me that the fact that I had an established website and two established blogs were an important component of their decision to represent me.

    Even if a writer submits a terrific manuscript, many publishers are hesitant to offer a contract if the writer lacks the business skills necessary to become succesful. This same thought process holds true of any self-employed person looking for business partners.

    Bottom line: A writer is a business professional and, as much a writer may hate that prosepct, it's a fact of life. At least until he or she hits the bestseller list and can afford to pay other people to do ALL the stuff he or she don't like to do. (For me, that would be dusting and vacuuming.)

  16. I liked the idea of persistence--that's how books are written and nobody makes a fortune over night. Also good to help other writers. Too easy for writers to get so wrapped up in their own work they became selfish. However, my experience in talking to non-writers is that they give bad, unsolicited advance about writing and marketing!--Sally C.

  17. Sally,

    You're correct about persistence: most everyone who's succeeded at anything will tell you they stuck with it far longer than most other people did. Few of us reach the brass ring the first time we reach for it.

    I suspect the reason non-writers give unsolicited and inappropriate advice is because they think the business side of writing and publishing is exactly the same as other business industries. While certain business skills are universal (forming and maintaining relationships, providing quality service and customer attention, being ethical), most industries and occupations have aspects that are specific and unique.

    What was it Margaret Mead said? "You're absolutely unique. Just like everyone else." In order for business advice to be good, it has to take into account the uniqueness of the individual, and his or her particular duties and responsibilities.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  18. Great post, Linda. Bill showed much sense in giving you this forum. (Wondering who and what hit him over the head?)

    I'm REALLY looking forward to getting out there when my book is launched-and I'm kinda nervous as well.

    And I tell everybody that I'm a writer. Most conversations go like this...

    Complete Stranger - hello.
    Me - I'm a writer!

  19. Michael, Thanks for your comments. I think my begging-pleading-tears routine worked well on Bill, don't you?

    Keep on telling everyone you're a writer. Consider it part of your marketing plan and author "platform." Also, direct people to your blog and website. The more "fans" you can establish now, the easier (and less nerve-wracking) future marketing will go.

    I'm looking forward to reading your book.

  20. Very informative. Many authors think just because they write a book, people will buy it. You have to tell people, then tell more people, then tell even more.

  21. Stephen, I couldn't have said it better myself. Now, how many more people will know how wonderful we are if we get all our friends to tell people? Can you tell that I'm into the law of large numbers?

  22. Er ... right ... I have a message for the scores of people who've visited this particular posting (scores more than the blog usually gets). I'm a writer. (There, that should do it.)

    And Linda, thanks again for a real magnet of a contribution. Are you busy next week? Could you do another one - oh, and sign it Bill Kirton, will you?

  23. Thank YOU, Bill, for being kind enough to allow me to visit as a contributor. Does your offer of a ghostwriting position require a contract and payment?

  24. Well, if you agree to be my ghost writer, you can draw up the contract on my behalf. There will, however, be NO payment. That seems fair.

  25. Hey, you can't blame a girl for trying.

  26. Too often we forget, writing is a business and promotion is a major part of it. Thanks for the reminder.