Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jessica Marcarelli: How to Effectively Market Your Writing

Hey there! I'm Jessica Marcarelli from Visions of Other Worlds. Lauren kindly allowed me to write a guest post for her, which I have been wanting to do for a while.

I guess we should meet and greet before we begin. I'm a fiction author by night and a business writer by day. Basically, I write all the time. I even - sometimes - get paid for it. I love great stories that I can read again and again, and fiddle with photography and painting whenever I have down time. I live in the desert with my husband and one incorrigible cat, play video games, and still believe Pluto is a planet.

So, that's me. Now, about you. I've got something for you. You may have heard of it. It's that elephant in the room that we all like to call marketing.

How to Effectively Market Your Writing

Writers tend to approach marketing the way a cockroach approaches light: they run away. When I first started my freelance business, I could run with the best of them. Then I learned one of life's unfriendly facts: today's online world runs on marketing. The 'Information Age' has created so much information that no one really wants to read it any more. We're all a bit over-saturated.

Writers looking for attention have to catch it. This typically works one of two ways: you either offer audiences something irresistible or you tackle them to the ground and make them cry uncle.

For the record, don't make them cry uncle. They'll just run away as soon as you let them go. Then you have to chase them. And tackle them again. It's just too much work.

No, what successful marketers do now is offer something so eye-catching that audiences can't help but stop for a look. They - and you - do this through three simple steps:

Build Relationships

We tend to trust friends more than strangers. If you're looking for an opinion on the latest blockbuster movie, who are you more likely to listen to: your movie buddy or some random guy standing outside the theater?

Your audience is no different. They want to know who you are, where you've come from, and why your opinion is any better than their hairdresser's.

Tell them. Not through your words, but through your actions. Get to know them and their interests. Read the books they like. Visit the sites they browse. Engage in heated discussions.

Basically, help others and they will help you.

Be Yourself

Building a relationship only works if you be yourself. I know, I know. Friendship 101. But it still needs to be said. People become friends because they like what they see. Let your audience like you for you.

Hiding behind yet another article about the theology of living life to the fullest is boring. We've seen it before. Write that you lived one day to the fullest by bungie jumping off a cliff...and wet yourself on the way down. It's human. It's alive. It's you.

Whatever or whomever “you” is, write it down. You might not appeal to everyone. But there are people out there waiting for your unique perspective.

Which brings me to my last point...

Shock Everyone

We writers tend to over think every word we put to paper. We compare it to other accepted forms of communication to ensure we won't offend anyone. Worse, we create imagined offenses that our writing is sure to incur. Basically, we don't want to shock or disturb.

Throw that mindset to the wind. Shock everyone. Free yourself from your own perceptions of what is “acceptable.” When you write freely, you come out. People wonder what you'll do next. You grab your audience's attention.

Where To Go

Social media has become the go-to place to spread your message. And why not? It's fast, easy, and used by millions. There are also less known places to spread your message or expertise. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Look them up, check them out, and sign up for one or two. They're all free and easy to quit if you don't like them.
  • Facebook (pages are very helpful to writers) 
  • Twitter (casual, quick, and to-the-moment) 
  • Google+ (easy to keep contacts and updates all in one place) 
  • LinkedIn (for professional networking) 
  • Pinterest (share your interests in a very visual medium) 
  • Forums (talk about your interests and meet new people) 
  • Answer Sites (such as Yahoo Answers – good for sharing your expertise) 
  • YouTube (lots of lively discussions in the comments) 
  • Book-reading Sites (such as Goodreads – review and talk about fave books) 
  • Blogging (on your own blog or as a guest poster) 

So there you have it: effective marketing tips that won't have you running for warm, dark safety. Try them out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Thanks so much for writing this wonderful guest post, Jessica! I know I'll be using some of these tips. 

So, what do you think? Have any other tips on marketing your writing? What has drawn you to a book recently? What do you find most affects you when deciding which books to buy?

Would you like to write a guest post for this blog? Click here.


  1. Thank you so much, Lauren! It was a pleasure and an honor to provide something for your blog. :)

  2. Excellent post. I see a lot of writers either run or try too hard, being something they're not. The most memorable people are those that are being themselves and have something original to say.

  3. Great marketing tips, Jessica! Social media is becoming the way to build relationships and promote books. What draws or deters me from books are first of all, the cover and synopsis, and then reviews --hey, I'm honest ;-)-- but getting to know the author around social media sites and blogs will almost always make me turn a blind eye to a bad cover or bad reviews.

  4. I love the "shock" comment. I think following a herd is lazy and deceptive, but I'm afraid I've done exactly that many times this past year. In my defense, it's been a learning year and there are great examples out there to follow. But it's time for me to make my own way and find my own path. It will be interesting!

  5. Christine - exactly! It's so hard to find yourself in a world that is constantly trying to find the "next big thing." But I think we'd all enjoy ourselves a little more if we did.

    Gwendolyn - Thank you! I know what you mean. I've read books in genres that I normally wouldn't touch because I spoke with an author in a social forum. That personal touch is missing from so many of our interactions nowadays.

    Julie - I think we all have, at one time or another. Finding your own way is hard at any time but especially when we're learning something new. Besides, interesting is always better than the same old. ;)

  6. I don't think I've ever shocked anyone, but I have worked hard to build relationships online. And I can only be me - don't know how to be anyone else!

  7. Loving this post! Marketing can be a very overwhelming thing for me to even think about, so it was nice to see a matter-of-fact post like this...

  8. Hi Lauren, wonderful tips from Jessica. I agree with what she said: build relationships, be yourself. I am yet to shock people ;)

    Wishing you both a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...