Ten Things I Learned on My Way to Market

So your book is off to the publisher, and you’re ready to think about marketing. In the literature on marketing, the core idea is to tell everyone you know the projected release date and ask them to tell everyone they know.

After you’ve told everyone, including your barista, and you even have some tentative dates for author events, what next?  I’m going to assume this is your first book, you’re new to this like I was, and you’ll be having some books shipped to your home. Here are ten things I learned:

1.            Decide if you want to recover any expenses you have incurred. My husband and I chose to donate all proceeds to nursing scholarships where I used to teach.  That makes promotion fun.

2.            Start a blog at least six months before your book’s release date. Instead of repeating myself when setting up author events, I can refer prospective hosts to my blog for more information.

3.            Be selective in your social media. I joined groups that I could contribute to as well as benefit from. Too many groups or “friends” will take up too much time.

4.            Be prepared for mailings. I bought the right-sized envelopes online; found out the book rate for postage so I could advertise the mailing rate along with the book cost on my blog; ordered return address labels, business cards, and promo postcards (to use as bookmarks); and had my mailing station set up on my kitchen bar when the initial onslaught of orders arrived.

5.            Order a stamp to use for people writing checks at your author events. I notice that buyers standing in line are surprised to have a professional-looking stamp that speeds up their wait.

6.            Buy a jazzy looking roller bag to roll into author events. I almost had to go to my first event with books in a red picnic basket, but found a chic black and white case just in time.  The case holds thirty books, change purse (cosmetic bag), stamp, postcards, business cards, and pens.

7.            Order a PO Box if convenient. I didn’t want my home address on my blog, so I could direct orders to the PO Box.

8.            Set up a separate e-mail address for book-related correspondence. I find it much easier to keep my other accounts separate.

9.            If your publisher will not be giving you a media kit, write one up of your own and post it on your blog. It’s convenient to have this information readily available for inquirers.

10.          Determine the number of books you want to give away. I gave copies to all persons who were helpful to me along the way, plus to venues like libraries and colleges that sponsored me.

Finally, when your books arrive, throw yourself a party. Invite EVERYONE. You deserve every accolade that comes your way!

Lois Roelofs longed to fly the friendly skies but in 1968 minister’s daughters did not become stewardesses. They chose practical careers like teaching or nursing. For the entire first year of nursing school, Lois made weekly calls home to beg her parents to let her come home. Then her instructors decided she had a “bad attitude”. Despite her lukewarm feelings about a nursing career Lois set out to prove those cranky old instructors wrong.

Lois’s attitude, as well as her feelings about nursing, changed radically during her over 30 year career. She retired in the year 2000 as professor emerita from Trinity Christian College with Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in nursing. But even that wasn’t enough classroom time for Lois. She recently completed three years of the University of Chicago Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults. She now spends her days writing and being a happy grandma. Lois is the author of Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Self

Lois’s website: http://loisroelofs.com/

Caring Lessons’ excerpts: http://loisroelofs.com/excerpts-3/


  1. says

    love your title!!! very ingenious
    love the thought of turning up with a red picnic basket to events, at least you`ll be remembered