Monday, May 2, 2011

Authors Must Learn to Sell What They Write

Many a writer aspires to be a published author—by any method whether self-publishing or being accepted by one of the “big six publishing houses,” such as Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, Random House, or Simon & Schuster, or one of their imprints (subsidiaries). What most new authors don’t realize is that once a book is published, it requires a lot of time, effort, and money to market it. The book, like any other product other than toilet paper, won’t sell itself; it has to be presented to its target market over and over.

Promoting a book can become a lot like owning a business. I learned this the hard way when I published More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife ( in 2005. I knew little about book marketing at the time, so the book didn’t start selling until two years later when I published my second book, Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America. That’s when I paid a publicist about $3,000 to do my book marketing for me. While I never sold enough of that title to recoup my investment, I did get quite an education about book publicity.

Yvonne Perry and Carol S. Batey taught a teleseminar on book marketing May 4. 

Get the MP3 of the class at

The mistake many newbie authors make is becoming too attached to their book and not allowing others to critique it or suggest changes for improvement. Another error is not having a professional editor help them develop the book or at least provide a copy edit. Most authors assume this service is too expensive and will skip this very important step in bringing a book to the market. I’ve heard things like: “I had my friends proofread my book and they didn’t find any errors,” or “My cousin is a high school teacher and she said it is a great book.” That’s like going to the dentist to buy lip gloss! Even an English teacher cannot provide the same level of editorial assistance that a book editor can.

Because an editor knows the book industry and the reader market, he or she can offer consultation about publishing methods and important tips about what makes a book appealing to readers. That’s in addition to having extensive knowledge about various style guides, acceptable word usage, character development, transitions, making dialog work, formatting, and being able to assist with publisher query letters and book proposals.

A book is a product and must be sellable. A poorly-written book ,with a so-so cover, or an ambiguous title/subtitle that lacks keywords is not as marketable as a page-turner that jumps off the shelf and causes the reader to say, “This is just what I’m looking for.” That reader becomes a fan and automatically starts helping you promote your book. If I don’t enjoy a book, I won’t write a review (at least not a positive one) or recommend the book to others.

I had a “first” last week when an author I am working with told me he wasn’t sure he was ready to be an author because of the time he would need to spend marketing his book. Usually, new authors have no idea of the amount of time and energy involved in successful authorship, but obviously, Steve has been reading WITS Newsletter!

I recommend authors do as many of the following things as possible:
  •  Create a marketing plan
  •  Maintain a blog specifically for the book
  •  Get domain names and build a Web site for the book
  •  Query to obtain radio and TV interviews
  •  Be available to record radio and TV interviews
  •  Create promotional videos and post them to YouTube and other social sites
  •  Conduct a book tour (in-person or online)
  •  Participate in the launch of other authors’ books. If you haven't partnered on a book launch in the past, and you'd like to know WHY you might want to do this, read this article called "7 Reasons to Partner on Someone Else's Book Launch NOW" at
  • Write and send media releases. I got a call from an energy-sensitive woman in Canada this week who found me via a release I sent for my book. I was thrilled to be able to help her and she was very happy to finally have an explanation for the empathy overload she had been experiencing. Finally someone understood what she was going through.
  • Write and post articles to online article directories. Once my virtual tour is over, I will post all my blog articles on and other online directories.
  • Write and send articles to print magazines
  • Participate in online forums pertaining to the topic of your book
  • Social marketing such as Facebook or Twitter
  •  Comment on and link to other peoples’ blogs
I am employing these methods in promoting my latest book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You ( Learn more the teleseminar.

Get the recording of the class now.

Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer, author and keynote speaker who enjoys assisting people on a spiritual path by writing about topics that inspire excellence and uplift the spirit. She is a graduate of American Institute of Holistic Theology where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics. She is the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services, a team of full-time writers and editors located in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Anonymous said...

Yvonne~ what an informative article! Thanks so much for sharing this. I am going to print it out and leave it on my desk to read everyday. It has so many points that I know are true, but conveniently forget about. I truly believe that knowledge is power. And I have just been empowered by this.

I'll be posting this on FB and with other writers I know. Blessings to you, and again, thanks!

Phyllis Zimbler Miller said...

Yvonne --

All the info in this post is very important. But I especially hope authors take to heart your advice about getting editorial assistance.

I paid a great deal for someone to find the "one thing missing" in my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT. That "one thing" required yet another rewrite -- and made all the difference to the novel.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Yvonne Perry said...

Thank you so much for the encouraging comment and for sharing the info on FB!