Monday, April 11, 2011

Guest Cathy Shouse's Ten + Tips to Turbocharge Your Marketing

Cathy Shouse here. When Seekerville Author Extraordinaire Janet Dean invited me to share some ideas about marketing today, I almost backed out. .

Why? Because just like Sally Fields, I want to be liked. And I know the last thing most writers want to talk about is marketing.

Unless their agent asks them, that is. Then they do a great imitation of an Energizer bunny, spouting all kinds of enthusiasm. .

Truth be told, most writers I know detest marketing. .

Ask a published writer why they're behind on their word count. .

"All the marketing I'm doing!" .

Catch a writer yawning. . "I was up late on Facebook," she'll say. .

And what is near the top of every author's Guilt List? .

"I should be marketing more. " (Insert long sigh here.) .

Well, I have a confession--I'm a writer and I like marketing. Talk about an oxymoron. .

Now, before you tell me to go start my own support group called Marketers Anonymous, consider coming over to the dark side with me. .

Start out by finding the fun in marketing. Yes, promoting yourself and your books can be enjoyable. So try different aspects of it and find what suits you. Ideally, you will have a variety of marketing arrows in your quiver. Everyone has her favorites so you need to figure out yours. .

Everything we do in life is influenced by our attitudes. So having a bad attitude about self-promotion puts us behind from the get-go. Taking time to develop the proper attitude and believing it deep down is very important. Please don't overlook this step. Make an effort to overcome your negativity about marketing. .

I think of it as a game, only better. In this game, everybody wins. The writer wins more success, more royalties, and a feeling of accomplishment. The readers win by discovering one or all of these benefits: entertainment, information, inspiration, healing and maybe even salvation. .

Look at it this way. Writing is a form of communication that marketing enhances. Here's my favorite definition of communication: a connection allowing access between persons or places. The more people who see a person's writing, the more communication, i.e. connection, is achieved. .

Remember this question? "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" .

Well, ponder this: "If someone writes words no one ever reads, is it communication?" .

My answer is "No." Now, those words may be personal expression, or might be a message to God, both topics for another day. .

So let's talk about how to become a better marketer and address the biggest complaint: It's too time-consuming. .

A marketing plan is only as time-consuming as you want it to be. Having said that, discipline is a key factor. .

Another confession: I’m late on creating this post because of marketing. .

Here's what happened. I went to check e-mail first. My e-mail provider had a great news headline. I read the story. Then I decided to post some of the information on my blog. . Fortunately, I was strong today and didn't head over to Facebook. (Actually, I had been over to Facebook earlier and not much was happening.) .

I am back doing this post, so I have developed discipline in time management, and you'll have to do that, too. .

One way I do that is to set a kitchen timer to ring, usually in 15 minutes. It depends on what I'm doing. I've set it for as little as 5 minutes. .

Now to address the biggest question: . "Is it ever too early to start marketing?" .

My answer: no. It's never too early. You are not marketing a book. You are marketing yourself. If my mother had given birth to me knowing I would be a writer, she could have labeled the crib at the hospital nursery, Cathy Duling (Shouse) writer. If she had taken a photo and put it on Facebook along with a Tweet, that would have been better. .

What is newsworthy for an unpublished author? I would promote anything related to writing or speaking. Start tiny, with the local newspaper or even a neighborhood newsletter. Get your name out however you can. .

If you enter a contest, you announce it. You don't have to win. If you go to ACFW national, or just a statewide meeting, or are named an officer, you put in an announcement, talk it up on the Internet and wherever else you can. .

Don't feel bad about this. If the local insurance agent can announce his stuff, so can you. The bank announces their new manager, which I don't consider news at all. .

All this publicity helps people know you are a writer and a secondary benefit is you begin to see yourself as a writer. This can be helpful when times get tough and you question your aspirations to write. .

Ten Tips for Turbo-charging Your Publicity .

1) Approach any place and everyone you might be able to get mentioned by. This means bloggers, newspapers and more. Are your writing achievements in your college alumni magazine?

Just mind your manners. Value other peoples’ time. And consider the setting. Jane Friedman, former executive of the book publishing branch of Writers Digest says social media should be social. She has a fantastic blog: There Are No Rules. She says if the only messages you post are about your book releases, you're not in social networking at all and people will tune you out. Use a light touch. Be easy to get rid of. Less is more. Give a 2-minute pitch to the local newspaper to get a story about yourself. Then offer to follow-up with details by e-mail or with another call. .

2) Writing is a business and even WalMart advertises: It’s never been easier or cheaper. It just takes persistence and creativity. A big dose of enthusiasm helps, too. If you write a blog on your own, post often and feel free to keep it short. Joining up with other writers is a time saver, like Seekerville authors have done. .

3) Have publicity in the back of your mind at all times. Whatever stage you’re in, start now. Marketing is a habit and gets easier the more you do it. It becomes natural. .

4) Make a written plan of your marketing. Don't pressure yourself. If you aren't an Excel spreadsheet kind of person (and I'm not) a simple to-do list is okay. Jot down reminders on your calendar. Work within your current system. .

5) Try what I call the Apple-A-Day approach for books: Do one thing six days a week for a healthy career. This can be as simple as keeping your bookmarks in your car and stopping at bookstores or libraries you come across. All of us are mobile these days. If I visit my father-in-law in Martinsville, IN, about 80 miles away, I have a flyer with me. If the library isn't open, I put a note in the drop box. This is such a habit with me, my husband even did "the honors" once when he went without me. .

6) Know your broader fiction, or nonfiction themes and promote them: parenting, business, baby boomers and change, grief and support groups are a few I've been able to work with. If it's mother's day and you have a strong character who is a mother, try for a story in the local paper.

7) We all know the key word in real estate: location. Well, in publicity it's this: Pictures. Pictures. Pictures: Spend the dough for a professional photo. Just as important is to get photos of everything you go to or participate in. Get help with photos at your event if at all possible. (Waving to Janet Dean whose picture I took and landed on the Publisher's Weekly blog Beyond her Book.) Submit pictures with everything, even announcements. Let the newspaper know when you’re speaking or leading a workshop or attending a meeting at a coffee shop. Depending on what's going on that day, you may get in the paper. Don't just say "I'm in a writer's group." Say "I'm attending the state chapter meeting for a national writing organization called the American Christian Fiction Writers Association, which has 1,000 members around the world." Make yourself sound impressive. You are! .

8) We're told that In-person contact makes the biggest impact: So don't focus your efforts only using the Internet. Be careful about book signings that can be a waste of time. Bookstores don't even do them anymore. If you can make you book promotion into an event, do it. My first book signing for the historic photo book "Images of America: Fairmount," was in my hometown of Fairmount and I invited the classic car buffs in town to come in their cars. It added flair to the event. The Friends of the Library brought in a cake and the Main Street group donated leftover ice cream from their last event. The more people you involve, the better the attendance. .

9) Make friends with insiders: Have a freelance journalist write stories about you, befriend the reporter who interviewed you for the paper. Keep them informed, in a nice, personal way. And by all means, send out thank you notes to everyone who helps you in the slightest way. No, a verbal thank you or an e-mail is not enough. We're writers, after all! I've got all kinds of pretty note cards waiting for this purpose and ask for them for Christmas every year. .

10) Newspapers may be dying, but newspaper readers tend to be book readers. The small papers only want local news so make yourself local. If your book is dedicated to your sister in Pennsylvania, pitch a story about the two of you for her Pennsylvania newspaper. If a policeman or doctor helped with research, pitch a story about the two of you. People are fascinated with the whole process of writing. As a reporter, I've written stories about writers entering writing contests. When Diann Hunt wrote a travel book and the characters stopped at Pokagon State Park in Indiana, I wrote a story for the nearby town of Angola's paper. Think outside the standard press release. .

We've made it to # 10 and I could go on and on (and I have!) I suggest becoming a student of marketing. There are all kinds of Internet stories about how people have become known. Read them. See what other authors do. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a master, making you feel like you are conversing with her. Go friend her on Facebook and be dazzled! .

While you are talking yourself up, be sure to help others promote. You'll learn a lot about what works and they'll help you in return. There's something a bit more prestigious about another person promoting you. So become one another's public relations person. Your writer friends will probably say better things about you than you would say about yourself, so let them. . It's hard to know your results from all this, but all the effort will pay off over time. .

I recently spoke at a coffee shop in Muncie, Indiana with a new writer friend, Kelsey Timmerman. He wrote the intriguing book Where Am I Wearing? and has signs of marketing genius, IMHO. He introduced me and surprised me by not asking me any questions ahead of time. Turned out he had snagged my information from the blog I've done for The Star Press in Muncie. Of course, I snapped photos of Kelsey and put them on my blog at The Star Press afterward. And I e-mailed to let them know.

The third speaker was fantastic writer Ivy Farghuson with The Star Press, whom I had never met. Afterward, she said "I know you from your blog." How nice! The blog is on personal finance but I post about anything and everything. Be multi-dimensional as much as possible! .

Alright, let's keep the discussion going. Please leave a comment and share some of your marketing successes with the rest of us, for a chance to win Janet's most recent book: Wanted: A Family. Janet is one of the nicest people you'll meet and I love her books. For a chance to win a thirty-minute phone consultation with me on promotional opportunities, leave a comment. Two chances to win!oFor a chance to win a thirty-minute phone consultation with me on marketing opportunities, leave a comment.

Journalist and fiction writer Cathy Shouse lives with her husband and two children in Fairmount, Indiana, the setting for her photo history book by Arcadia Publishing entitled Images of America: Fairmount. Earning her oboe and business degree from Indiana University in Bloomington spawned a fascination with marketing she can't shake. Cathy thrives on promoting authors, having published dozens of articles about them. Designing unique author publicity campaigns is a favorite pastime of hers. To contact Cathy, go to where she is a community blogger on personal finance. .

Janet here. Thanks Cathy for the helpful marketing tip! Cathy has gotten my name and picture in area newspapers so I vouch for her expertise.

I brought an assortment of bagels from Panera with cream cheese. Easy food to grab on the run as we're off to market ourselves and our books.


everlastingscribe said...

Hey, just to let you know, most independent bookstores DO do signings. I know, I work for one and I am the book signing/event coordinator. In the battle for dollars we can't compete with the megalomarts out there, so we offer readers and customers a chance to come and chat and talk and meet their favorite authors by hosting book signings. It works well for us, we sell books. It works well for the author, they meet people willing to have them come and talk to home school groups, churches, scouting groups etc. Oh, and they sell books. It's win-win. Don't pass us by, we WANT authors and events as much as you want to be connected to your readers.

CarolM said...

It hit me as I was reading this [and watching tonight's Undercover Boss], that this aspect of writing could actually come [relatively] easily to me.

I worked fast food for a decade. Customer service was my specialty. I could make the food with the best of them. Coleslaw I could handle. Sweet tea? Perfection. Lemon meregue pie? Yep.

But customer service? It came naturally to me. Learning people's names. And orders. Every once in a while I run into a gal who used to work at Dillards and would get breakfast from us several days a week. She always asked that I make her eggs because I was the only one who got them right. She remembers me.

The combo of the two - Cathy's blog and Baja Fresh - made me realize, that to an extent, that marketing ME is a lot like customer service. I might actually be able to do that =D.

I feel a bit silling with a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account that I only have because the marketing folks say I should, but it's part of marketing me, I suppose. But creating relationships? I can do that =D.

Thanks Cathy! And thanks Janet for bringing her ;).

I can't improve on Panera but I do have cookies.

Making them in the morning because sis and I are making an unexpected trip to see Dad. He's in the hospital. Reaction to his new BP meds. He seems to be fine, but we're going to drive out to see him tomorrow. It's about 2.5 hours each way. Prayers for us and him would be appreciated.

CarolM said...

Everlasting Scribe -

I was at an event this weekend at a local store. Beverly Lewis and Julie Klassen. They're having another event with local authors soon. I was at another signing with a local author I know a couple months ago. Both of the ones I went to had a bunch of people there and the owners are fabulous. I know I'll be heading over there once I have a book coming out :).

Helen Gray said...

Line up for coffee at 4 a.m. There'll be plenty for everyone.

Great post.

Yep, I hate the idea of marketing.

The thought of being published and having to do the amount of marketing required to satisfy an agent or editor terrorizes me.

I have a facebook page and a web site, but I don't have enough thoughts to keep them interesting.


P.S. I'm still visualizing ice cream (#8) left over from an earlier event. Bowls of it, melted.

Camy Tang said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Cathy! This post was so AWESOME!!!! Thanks so much for the tips and the reminder to have a positive attitude about marketing!

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for the great information, Cathy. I'm adding this post to the marketing section of Evernote and will refer to it when I start planning for the release of my debut novel next year.

Ausjenny said...

Hi Cathy, Im not a writer but have been studying business administration and have done a few marketing and advertising subjects which I loved (I found research and marketing the best subjects) I sold creative memories for many years but never made a profit because I was not good at marketing myself or my product (may explain the huge amount of product I have in my cupboard). I can understand some struggling and other loving it.
Im a blogger who is always looking for authors to plug on my blog and suggest to people who ask for recomendations.
I also volunteer at a christian bookshop and have a chance to recommend books to customers and suggest we stock.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

All right, wrote a great comment.

Blogger ate it. AGAIN...

Cathy, I loved this. Janet, loving the bagels.

Cathy, you are right on. We have to go beyond ourselves and put ourselves out there.

Connealy pushes beyond her shyness and does this all the time. GREAT EXAMPLE FOR ALL OF US!

Remember: "shy" becomes "distant" or "self-absorbed" to the un-knowing onlooker.

And heaven save us from authors who forget that their characters are REAL to the reader. I just read an interview with an author who admitted she didn't care about moving on from a multi-book series. She'd given her best, her all, and she was done with it. Her readers just needed to move on.

You know what?

Feel free to fudge that gently, because if we appear caustic... Over-worked.... Stressed or bored by our characters and settings.... why on earth would people want to pick up your next series?

I wouldn't.

Just a thought to share. Cathy, thank you for taking the Blogger's Chair today! You rock!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I was nice to Mary.

What on earth was I thinking????

Cathy Shouse said...

Good morning, everlastingscribe!

I appreciate your giving a shout out for indie bookstores. I've done some signings at the big name stores, but there seemed a lack of enthusiasm. They don't seem to do as many as in the past and there could be multiple reasons for that.

Unfortunately, the indies near me have all but disappeared so I can't speak to how they feel about book signings.

Cathy Shouse said...


I'm happy for you that marketing may come easily. As you've seen, it's partly framing it in your mind in a way that suits you.

Be safe on your trip to see your dad. We've got storms here.

And do some brainstorming on your marketing plan in the car. :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Very concise and to the point, Cathy! Check. Check. Check.

Thank you.

Welcome to Seekerville everlastingscribe!!

Cathy Shouse said...


Sorry the description of ice cream didn't work for you. It was stored in the freezer, if that helps. ha

When you get your book published, you will feel so excited, it may bring you out of your shell. You'll be able to talk about it more easily than you realize. It isn't like when you had to give "a speech" in high school. J

Cathy Shouse said...

So nice to see you, Camy!

I was afraid you might be holed up somewhere after all that work you did on Genesis! I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

How generous of you to coordinate Genesis--and what a great marketing tool, as a side benefit. lol Getting our names out there can happen in myriad ways.

Cathy Shouse said...


Congrats on your contract. I'm a bit late, I know.

I still remember winning a little goodie bag on your blog. It had a horse theme.

So, you can direct your marketing efforts to someone else. I'm in already! ha

You are a great example of promoting WAY before the book contract showed up. It will pay off.

Kirsten Arnold said...

Thanks for the post, Cathy, and all the great ideas.

I'm actually looking forward to the marketing part of writing. When I get published (positive attitude) and people read my books (more positive thoughts) I definitely want to connect with those people.


Cathy Shouse said...

Thanks for weighing in, Ausjenny!

I certainly agree that marketing will appeal to one person more than another. However, at least we now have a variety of ways to connect, including the Internet, for those who are extroverts. :)

You also brought up an excellent point I wanted to make today in the comments.

Volunteering and/or community service of some type can be an avenue for marketing. And there's no reason to feel guilty about that. Some authors write about a charity in their book and that helps the author and the charity.

If you're working to promote a charity event, when appropriate, let folks know what you do. And, donating a book for a charity auction or other such event can be good. However, the finance part of my brain does encourage you to donate your hard-earned book copies wisely.

My book is a photo history book and my daughter's school wanted me to donate one for the 5th grade auction. That is not really a good fit for that age group so I declined. The book is of our town but my own kids have not shown interest in it, and I don't blame them.

How do those who are pubbed decide who gets those precious copies?

Sandy Ardoin said...

Good information, Cathy, and things I'll keep in mind for "when the time comes."

The idea of face-to-face marketing leaves me quaking, but I know it has to be done. Terry Burns has offered great advice in his ACFW course this month aimed at us shy writers. Put together with your information, I might just make it. :-)

Cathy Shouse said...

Hey there, Ruthie!

You are a rock start to me. Ever since you signed as my judge for the Barclay Contest, wasn't it?

Judging and signing your name is not a bad way to get your name out there. I still remember the names of the two judges who signed mine. Their names are stitched onto my pillowcase, if you must know.

Of course, it helps if you give encouraging comments as a judge, as well as constructive criticism!

Cathy Shouse said...


I get a thrill seeing your books in print on the shelf!

I have some idea of how long you waited and am absolutely over the moon that you are contracted.

Love all you do for Seekerville! I'm so excited I won the April book package! At Walmart yesterday, I saw several of your names for April (I think, it wouldn't be May, right?)

Cathy Shouse said...


I agree with you that authors need to say something nice or not at all. Very important in marketing.

I once heard an author complaining that she made nothing on the sale of used books. While I understood her $entiment, it seemed ungrateful, somehow.

1) She had a pubbed book so how could she ever be unhappy about anything again? :)

2) In this economy, let's just celebrate a book sale of any kind. That isn't totally true, but at the least, Please don't complain when in front of fans or potential fans.

Cathy Shouse said...


You will make it marketing, and then some!

You can do this! Say that in front of the mirror every morning. You won't be alone in your efforts.

Audra Harders said...

Cathy, you make it sound so easy, LOL!

Thanks for all the tips. I'm printing this off and investigating which will work with my introvert personality. Great choices!

You are a master of promotion!

Cathy Shouse said...


Kudos for your attitude!

The great thing about a positive attitude is that it influences other people positively.

I snagged my first writing assignment (nonfiction) by recommending, over the phone, that a major corporation create a newsletter for their women associates. The person I pitched it to said "I can feel your enthusiasm, send me a proposal."

Now, it took me a few months to get up the guts to follow through on the enthusiasm, but that's another story. Sometimes, we marketing types are so effective, we scare ourselves!

Cathy Shouse said...


Try keeping bookmarks of Seeker books with you, along with yours, and start off by talking about one or two of them first.

I do think it's easier to talk up someone else than ourselves.

I also meant to say that if you get in the newspaper, laminate a copy of the story and show it to bookstores. It legitimizes your "celebrity."

Missy Tippens said...

Great, great info, Cathy!! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and excitement. I jotted notes and will try to follow your advice!

And now I have to go. I'm sorry I can't hang out today. Must mail book tomorrow to arrive by deadline!! So much yet to do, so little time. When I resurface, I'll take a shower and come back to visit--much more presentable than I am now! :)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Cathy! Great tips!

I kind of like marketing, but it's frustrating when it keeps me from writing, which is often! I'm an all or nothing kind of girl, so I had to call a halt to most of it three months after my book released.

My sales numbers on Amazon went way up when I was on a radio talk show and I mentioned Amazon and the kinds of reviews I was getting on there. I guess people were curious, and it's so easy to go to and type in the author's name and title. But if you don't MENTION Amazon, they might not think to do that. So when you're being interviewed on the radio, do your best to mention Amason! That's my bit of advice. :-)

And I'm still making myself scarce because I haven't yet finished my edits. I still have a week before my deadline, but these edits are really major and it's my kids' spring break this week. Yes, there are sacrifices that must be made, but I have to do some stuff with my kids this week! I may be working some late nights.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Cathy, I agree.

Used book sales are what made me fall in love with certain authors. And libraries. If I can sample an author for cheaper, I'm much more inclined to plunk down $10 for a later book....

And with my buds, we hand faves around. Pass 'em on. THAT WAY we all go out and buy the later ones because we can't wait until everyone else has read them.

One gal I know will re-read her favorite authors while waiting for pre-orders because she won't chance her money on unknowns. Gotta build that base and being nice....

Shoot, shouldn't that just come with the territory?

Leaving fresh M&M cookies. With walnuts AND white chocolate chunks. Ghirardelli, of course.

Oh, yum.

Janet Dean said...

Good morning Seekerville!

Thanks for the coffee, Helen. I'm badly in need of it this morning.

Everlastingscribe, wish we had your independent bookstore in my area.

CarolM, your dad's going to love the homemade cookies. Safe travel and prayers for his blood pressure.


Janet Dean said...

I struggle to write and promote. Especially approaching a deadline. is one of the sights I love to visit when time allows. There's a Love Inspired and Love Inspired Historical loop with lots of interesting chats between readers and authors. The best part is authors or publishers give away books. Readers just have to sign up.


Janet Dean said...


Cathy has offered a 30-minute phone consultation on marketing opportunities! Leave a comment for a chance to win this and a copy of Wanted: A Family.


Wendy S. Marcus said...

Hi Cathy!
Great post! And great timing as my debut will be coming out soon. When I first received 'the call' I had an eye on marketing. It was big news in the smaller romance circles and lots of people invited me to guest post on their blogs. I was so excited! But, as release date approaches and I need to fulfill all my blogging commitments, I realize some of the blogs don't get many visitors and my time could be better spent elsewhere. Now I'm paying much closer attention to where I spend my marketing time!

Cathy Shouse said...


Thanks for stopping by, especially when you're under the pressure of a deadline!

You're always welcome here. I think your hair looks fine. Would never have guessed you need a shower. lol

Congrats on finishing another book!

Cathy Shouse said...


Yes, I meant to mention getting on the radio, too. Even in the smallest radio markets, maybe especially in the smallest ones, people really do listen.

Great idea about mentioning Amazon. I have some great reviews on there, too, but I don't think to direct people there.

Cathy Shouse said...

Nice to see you, Janet!

I hope the weather is better in the sunny south than it is in Indiana. Winds and storms here.
The good thing is, I'm not tempted to go outside because the sunlight isn't calling to me.

I'm happy to be here chatting with you. I've written about Janet when she was entering contests right and left, then again when she got published. Then in a specialty newspaper for retirees, although Janet clearly hasn't gotten the hang of retiring
She was also mentioned in a paper where her book her book is set, I think.

Mainly, don't expect a story just because you have a new book out. The journey to publication and all the effort and persistence is always a good one. Editors love this headline: Author Achieves Dream of Publication

It does have a nice ring to it!

Angie K. said...

From an early writer who is actually starting to think that publishing might happen, thank you for the useful tips! One thing not mentioned is the advent of ebooks. As a newer Kindle owner who is learning to embrace this format, I also see that I'm adding fewer physical books to my shelves. The most recent four works I purchased in hard copy format, though, are ones that are signed by the author. One of these is your Fairmount book. :) Two others are also written by friends, though one lives in another state and mailed the copy here. The fourth is a book that will be released in May, but preordering it means that I will receive a signed copy. Why am I mentioning this? I really do think that for many books, an author signature and short inscription adds significant value to the reader. I, too, wish that Indie book stores were in our area, but you had some lovely ideas regarding publicity. I'll need to save this for future reference - thanks again!

Cathy Shouse said...

Wendy Marcus,

So happy to see you in Seekerville!

I don't remember the details, but Wendy is a new writer for Mills & Boon's medical romance line. She was discovered through an on-line pitch promotion they did. Like so many published writers, she specializes in rewrites. Just kidding!

I'm only mentioning the rewrite thing because I hear that is often what's necessary to getting published the first time, and multiple times as well. Knowledge is power.

Thanks, Wendy, for the tip on carefully deciding what posts to blog on.

Cathy Shouse said...


So nice of you to stop by!

I really appreciate the tip about what makes readers want a physical book. Very important!

Keep on plugging away! :)

jude said...

I enjoyed this helpful blog and picked up several good ideas. I like your style! Thanks to both you and Janet.

Casey said...

Very helpful post! I don't need to be entered, Janet's book is already on it's way to me. :)

Thanks for the great information. I'm not published, but I am trying to build a platform as best I can now. It's great to get a head start and get the learning curve out of the way. :)

Mona Risk said...

Thank you Cathy for the fantastic advice. I am blogging on
where they are giving big prizes such as nook,...if anyone cares to hop there.

rita said...

I loved this post by friend Cathy!
She is way ahead of the game. I have so much to learn from her. I think I will keep coming back to her list for inspiration and be on the lookout for my own out-of-the-box ideas.
Even as a beginner, I went to a writer's conference last weekend and approached a publisher. The next day I was referred to in his talk!

Lorna Faith said...

Thanks Cathy for sharing your expertise on marketing! I love what you said about social media should be social. So I can just be myself and that's good:) I love that. Makes a lot of the fear of marketing go away!
Thanks so much for your ideas...will be using them:)

lornafaith at gmail dot com

Cathy Shouse said...


Your current post at is a perfect example of working for a cause you believe in and connecting to books.


Cathy Shouse said...

Thanks for stopping by, Casey

Great idea to build a platform now. You'll think of more ideas as you go. Good luck!

Cathy Shouse said...


Thanks for the invite. I went and posted.

I can almost feel that Nook in my hands. :)

Cathy Shouse said...


Thanks for proving my point, by talking with someone in the industry and getting them talking about you the next day.

Details, please? :)

Renee Ann said...

Great post, Cathy. I'm still chuckling over the mental image of your mom promoting your writing career from the cradle!

I must admit that since I jumped into the social media world, I've become a bit addicted. I recently began tweeting. I don't do it well, but have enjoyed following many authors who are twitter pros. They highlight their own blogs, quotes, interesting articles . . I look forward to seeing what they have to say. And I remember their names when new books come out. So it works!

Cathy Shouse said...


Glad my comments helped. Jane was saying that if you also share your kids' sports successes, the books you're reading and whatever else comes to mind, it is natural to share the good news about your writing journey.

And I should have said Jane F has a fantastic blog called "There Are No Rules" at

You just mix leisure and business in, the way our lives are mixed in. :)

Speaking of which, I'm off to the part-time job, then to celebrate Library Month by hearing a wonderful pianist.

Let's hear some more marketing tips from you!

I'll check in later.

Carol J. Garvin said...

Thanks for all the helpful tips, Cathy. I don't have a novel published yet but am collecting ideas for when I do. (Is that positive thinking, or what?) I love your idea of laminating a newspaper writeup. One thing I'll want to do is be friendly, not pushy. I get so turned off by the tweets and posts that shout, "You have to read my book." The only thing that happens when someone rams info down my throat is that I gag on it. LOL.

I've brought along peanut butter cookies for coffee break. I know there are a couple missing from the plate... I ate them for breakfast.

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Cathy, WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, I am one of those many writers who cringes at the word marketing and promotion, so I REALLY needed this post today -- THANK YOU!!

You broke it down in a clear and concise manner that shows me what I've been doing right and what I've been doing wrong ... AND what I need to start doing in the future!!

Thank you SO much for your valuable insight and help. Wish I could put you in my pocket, but I'll just do the next best thing and print this one off, 'cause it's a real keeper.

Thanks, Janet, for sharing the wealth!!


Janet Dean said...

Jenny, I love to stamp greeting cards, but even if I had the time, I don't have the patience to make scrapbooks. One of our daughters does and has created beautiful scrapbooks.


Janet Dean said...

Missy, applauding you to the finish line!

Melanie, tough to have to work with the kids home. Balance is really hard when it comes to deadlines and family.

Sandy, congrats on taking online courses to prepare you for the real deal!


Janet Dean said...

Right on, Cathy and Ruthy! The first romance I read was a loaned book. I fell in love with the author and more importantly with the genre. So if sharing and buying used books garners readers, I'm all for it!


Janet Dean said...

Jude, good to see you!

Angie, I agree that readers like autographed books. And writers love signing them too. At least this one does. :-)


Sarah Thomas said...

I've been in public relations for 17 years and my best tip for getting local newspaper coverage is to write the story for them. Newspapers are super short-handed these days and will often run a well-writen release verbatim. You're a writer--so write! But keep all of Cathy's great tips about an angle in mind--they aren't going to run a boring bio, they want an entertaining angle.

Debby Giusti said...

Cathy, your enthusiasm for marketing is infectious! And just what I needed today.

Always a joy to read your posts on Seekerville!

Janet Dean said...

Julie, you're a wonderful promoter of books, others as well as your own. Generous with your time and reviews.


Mary Connealy said...

Marketing. Loved the top ten list, Cathy. thanks for being on.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Great advice, Cathy. And I love your photo.
I promise to keep your tips in mind all along the journey and that's one of the great parts of a blog is being able to come back and search for older posts. Seekerville has a storehouse full of them.

CatMom said...

Thanks for this great post, Cathy! WOW! Your marketing tips are super, and as I read them I really felt motivated and inspired (honest!). ~ Since I'm later getting on here today, I brought a late-night snack to share *grin* - - Peach cobbler right out of the oven (made with Georgia peaches, of course!). Blessings, Patti Jo :)
P.S. I already have Janet's wonderful book so no need to enter me in the drawing!

Lindi said...

Great advice and tips. I will print this out. And the timing couldn't have been better.

belindapeterson at tds dot net

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Cathy, excellent post! Can you come back and fill in tip numbers 11 to 100 :)

Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

Cathy Shouse said...

Eva Marie,

You are coming in late!

Let's see, I thought I could add in one more tip, but my brain is fried.

I would suggest you work on marketing when you are feeling more energetic. :( I know many people who say they do some of the online stuff in their "down time."

I totally understand that reasoning. However, if a person is going to do that, they will have to work on making their words generate enthusiasm.

As I said before, the newspaper I blog for has said to blog 4 days as week and shorter posts are better.

Cathy Shouse said...

Renee Ann,

I agree that social media can "work" as marketing. I have seen writers and others argue it doesn't work. They try to measure book sales based in it.

All I can say is, I "meet" people online and definitely do buy their books as a result. It may not be from one encounter, but over time, I feel I know them and do buy books from them.

Cathy Shouse said...

Carol G,

I was involved with my family this evening.

If I had known you were bringing peanut butter cookies, I would have come earlier. :)

Cathy Shouse said...

Thanks for saying hello, Julie L.

I can't imagine you would be challenged by marketing. Your books are so unique. Be sure to let your light shine to as many readers as possible.

Cathy Shouse said...

Sarah Thomas,

I'm awarding you recognition for one of the best tips. Simply writing your own story and sending it can work.

I would simply say to put in a little study of the newspaper stories that appear in the paper you are aiming for. Your piece must sound like a news story to have a chance of running, although newspapers often have community info. sections that aren't particular.

Cathy Shouse said...

Debby G,

So glad you stopped by. I hope your writing is going well and your family is fine!

Cathy Shouse said...


Thanks for stopping in and saying hello. I recognize you from other conversations here at Seekerville. :)

Cathy Shouse said...


The peach cobble is definitely worth showing up late for!

I can almost taste it. A well-placed description is so helpful. lol


Cathy Shouse said...

Good night everyone.

This day has been a blast.

I hope I didn't chase the men away. Was hoping to see Walt and the others.

The connections we all have made in Seekerville are proof that online communication is an effective form of marketing. :)

Cathy Shouse said...

And my last marketing thought:

If someone responds to your efforts, respond to them!

Earlier in the day, I sent Susan Elizabeth Phillips a quick e-mail through her Website, letting her know she is mentioned in the post.

This is her response!

Any day my name and the word "dazzling" is in the same paragraph is a good
day. Thank you. I love Facebook and I love my readers, so we're a good


Kayleen said...

I've known Cathy for several years and can vouch for her expertise and hard work. One thing I've done to promote my books/blog to establish a platform to attract a bigger publisher is to offer free book talks at area schools. It's been fun and I ALWAYS have someone shoot photos- these go in my hometown newspaper, my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and to the school where it was taken. Good job, Cathy!