Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Marketing for Writers—How to Learn from the Masters

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyAdict

Art students learn a great deal by studying and duplicating the works of celebrated artists. In class, students are encouraged to learn the techniques of renown creators, mimic their style, and even reproduce their famous works. However, the ultimate goal is not to become a devotee of a particular artist. It’s to tap into the skillsets and vision that made their art exceptional, then use these skills to make new, original creations.

These same methods can be used by writers to learn marketing. We can find people who are exceptional at marketing. Study their techniques. Practice mimicking their systems—and then create our own.

Collect Marketing Examples & Tips
When studying marketing, we need a clear place to collect the works of our experts. Here are a few places I like to gather examples:
  • Pinterest Boards—If you use Pinterest, create a board to collect good examples and tips for marketing. Pinterest even has a new feature that allows you to add sections to your boards. A Marketing for Writers board could have sections like:
    • Book Launch Tips
    • Social Media Ideas
    • Timelines for Launching a book
  • Pinterest Reminder—Use a secret board if you don’t want your followers to see what you’re preparing.
  • Email Folder – I keep a folder in my email account called Marketing. I also subscribe to the newsletters of several authors and expert marketing professionals. When I see one of them begin talking about a new book, I create a subfolder within the Marketing folder and name it after the book. I then put every email they send that mentions the book into that folder. This helps me see their marketing cycle. 
  • Computer Folder – Keep a folder on your computer devoted to marketing tips, examples, and ideas. The trick is to be sure you 1) can easily find it and 2) only add materials that pertain to marketing your writing.

Studying Marketing Experts
Once you have a place to collect your material, it’s time to fill those marketing buckets and study your masters.
  • The Dissection Method – Choose a couple of authors to study in your genre. It’s good to choose at least one author that is a seasoned professional and one that has only 1-2 books published. Both will have something to teach you.
  • Save everything shared pertaining to a particular book in a folder or board dedicated to that book’s launch. Then consider the following questions:
    • What tools did the author use?
    • How do the author’s social media, newsletters, blog posts, and emails work together?
    • When did the author start sharing about the upcoming book?
    • What kinds of giveaways did the author use?
    • What bonuses did the author offer for sharing about the book, pre-ordering the book, or joining one of his online groups?
  • This will help you see the complete life-cycle of that author’s marketing system.
  • The Street Team Method – If you want the inside scoop on how to market, join a street team. Edie Melson discussed street teams in her article Street Teams for Book Launches. For easy reference, I’ll include her definition here:
  • “A street team—also called a launch team, dream team, tribe, posse, road crew, etc.—is a group of readers passionate about your book. These are people who believe in what you've written and see the value of sharing it with others. They agree to post reviews, mention it on GoodReads, share about it on social media, and of course talk about it in person.”
  • By being on a street team, you’ll see 1) the different types of promotion pieces an author uses to spread word about a new book, 2) the impact a committed team can have on creating excitement for a book, and 3) the timeline of these events both before and after a book’s launch date.

Marketing is a critical part of the writer’s life, so develop your skills and confidence in this area now. You’ll be glad you did!

What tips do you have for marketing a book or learning how to market? I’d love to hear your ideas in the Comments section below.

Marketing for Writers—How to Learn from the Masters - @EfficienceyAdict on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Want to learn how to #market your book? Study the masters - @EfficiencyAdict on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Cynthia Owens is The Efficiency Addict, a technical trainer helping writers, speakers and small business owners work more effectively. She runs www.TheEfficiencyAddict.com, which specializes in computer training, business organization, career development and event coordination. 

Connect with Cynthia on Twitter and Pinterest.


  1. Cynthia, great job! I've shared this on my social media and also started my own Book Marketing pinterest board.
    Another person to follow who has proven herself most successful in marketing her historical fiction is Misty Beller. Her marketing blog for authors is chock full of detailed information. http://www.theambitiousauthor.com Also she has written a neat booklet available on Amazon "How to Market a Book Release" which I gave five stars.
    Elva Cobb Martin
    VP ACFW-SC Chapter www.elvamartin.com

  2. These tips are so valuable that I have put this post on my Safari Bookmarks Reading list. I don't want to loss this post. It'a a worthy re-read for productive and meaningful directions. Thank you, Cynthia. Teach on!

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  4. Cynthia, what a great post! Thanks for the ideas on how to prepare for marketing and how to organize to be more effective! I have some folders in my email box, and a general one in my documents folder, but you've shown me how I can make them more effective when the time comes for me to actively market a book.
    Thank you!

  5. Great tips! I love the idea of creating a Pinterest board to brainstorm launch ideas and studying the techniques of similar authors.

    Bookmarking this post. Thanks for sharing!


  6. For someone who sees marketing as an alien language, close to Martian, I appreciate all the tips writers have to offer.

  7. Cynthia, this is great content! I have yet to develop a Pinterest presence for writing. Your guidance helped me understand how the boards function for this type of application. Thank you!

  8. Cynthia, I love this post! Thanks for sharing these great tips. It's always good to see we're on the right track on this amazing journey. Definitely bookmarking this post. :)