The Journal: Guest Post on Marketing

In today’s Journal

* Guest Post on Marketing
* Of Interest

Guest Post on Marketing

Note: The post below started life as a comment on yesterday’s post. But it was so well-done, I wanted to be sure everyone saw it. So I chose to use it here today as a guest post. Enjoy. And thanks, Matt.

“Marketing and writing are vastly different skills. A person doesn’t have to be a writer before s/he can market and sell books.”

Just getting caught up around here, and your remark here reminded me that one of the best marketers I know always drives home this very point: “Your business is not different.”

Doesn’t matter if you’re selling soap and salt or ice to the Inuit. Marketing and selling always follow the same pattern.

Two other pithy favorites of mine in this genre:

1. “Even if you’re selling soap, you’re never selling soap.”

You’re selling what it feels like after they’ve scrubbed off the dirt of the day in that hot, relaxing shower that melts away all the knots of stress in your neck.

Authors of fiction ought to excel at this. If you can set a scene with an interesting character involved in a halfway compelling dramatic conflict, you can sell with your words.

What do most authors do? Most all of them show up on social media, at conferences, or paying for online ads shouting “BUY MY BOOK!” on repeat.

They’ve put themselves in the business of selling books.

That’s not the business you’re really in.

Which brings me to…

2. “Marketing makes selling superfluous.”

Dang near every author I see around the ‘web seems to believe that marketing amounts to standing out in front of the bookshop and yelling “deal here!” at every passer-by.

That never worked even when it “worked.”

Sometimes you can escalate and pay for premium high-traffic space to shout “deal here!” Same effect.

You might sell some books.

But the goal isn’t to “sell some books.”

The point of all this is to build relationships with readers who stick around for life.

The whole purpose of marketing is to create interest in and desire for your wares among those who might benefit from them, thereby short-circuiting the need to sell with the more blunt and intrusive instruments.

Thoughtful and strategic marketing is not only more effective at the end goal of selling books, it’s also less likely to make you feel like the sleazy strawman of a Barnum-esque carnival barker that haunts the nightmares of the sensitive romantic artiste.

* * *

Thanks again, Matt.

If anyone else out there is doing well with your marketing and promotions, feel free to send along a guest post. Sharing your success and how you achieved it with other writers might help them rise, and it will never drag you down. After all, you got where you are by scrambling across the shoulders of others as well.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “The Joy of Making Stuff Up” at In case it speaks to some of you.

Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.

4 thoughts on “The Journal: Guest Post on Marketing”

    • Granted. But then, I know fully-abled “authors” who write one novel over a period of a couple of years, then stop writing and do nothing but promote that novel for the next year or two or three, then write another and repeat the process. I can’t imagine writing like that.

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