Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Writers, Do This and Be Amazed At the Success of Your Marketing Efforts

Marketing. Ugh


I am one of the worst marketers in the world.  There's something about shouting my name out from the rooftops that makes me cringe.  And I know that I am not alone in this.  But last week I had an experience that gave me some new perspective on the topic.  And from that I learned something that I hope to figure out how to apply going forward.

I've heard that one way to succeed is to quit worrying about promoting yourself and put others first. But how, exactly, are you supposed to do this? Beats me.  Don't have a clue.   In the past, I'd read this sage wisdom, nod my head, think for a minute how this might work, come up blank, and quit thinking about it.  Then go back to my usual marketing ploys.  In other words, doing nothing.

Maybe a Different Way?

But here's what happened last week that put this into perspective and showed me how it might work:

TS at Another Read Through

#1 I had a reading at a local bookstore that I like a lot.  I like the owner a lot, too.  She supports local authors like crazy and is doing her best to create a nice community around her store.  More than anything, I really wanted to introduce people to her store.  

#2 I was reading with my Twitter friend Kayla Dawn Thomas, who was coming down from Washington.  She didn't know many people in the area, and this was her first reading.  So I wanted to make sure she had an audience, too.

Are you sensing a theme here? I had two people I wanted to make happy.  And because of that, I pulled out the stops, sending out emails and promoting on Twitter like crazy.  In the emails, I wrote about how great the bookstore was, and asked people to stop in some time even if they couldn't make it to the reading.  

In other words, I had a mission larger than myself.  

And the Winner Is…


The ultimate result was a reading that about 25 people attended, which is not bad at all for a Thursday night in summer.  And I've cemented a wonderful relationship with Elisa, the bookstore owner.  She's offered to do my launch for The Bonne Chance, about which I am very excited, and Debbie and I will likely do our workshops there in the future.  (Local writers–we are planning one in October about all aspects of publishing, including how to get an agent, book contracts, and indie publishing.)

The thing is, I felt so much more comfortable doing the marketing when I was talking about the bookstore and Kayla.  How to expand this into larger marketing efforts?  I don't have a clue.  But recently on the Women's Fiction Writer's Association mailing, there was a link to Kristin Lamb's blog, which I hadn't read for awhile.  In wandering through its pages, I found the link to her most recent book, Rise of the Machine, Human Authors in a Digital World, which I gather from the reviews has a somewhat similar theme.  (From a review: "Well, here's the big deal.  It's not about promoting yourself.  It's about caring for your neighbor.")

So, I'm onto something here, even if I am late to the party.  And I'm going to figure out how it works.

Do you have ideas about how to put this in motion?  Ideas about marketing in general? Please do share in the comments.  This is a topic all writers need to know more about, I'd wager! Your ideas may help someone else–which is the whole point.

Photos are by xenia and brsky and Another Read Through.

0 thoughts on “Writers, Do This and Be Amazed At the Success of Your Marketing Efforts

  1. J.D.

    No ideas. Hadn’t thought about it, but 25 at an independent book store is pretty good. I won’t say I get discouraged but I repeatedly slip back into the “do nothing” mode.

  2. Charlotte Dixon

    I get it.  That's been me, too.   If people are interested, I'll keep at this topic so we can all learn together.

  3. Dyoung

    A thread is always stronger when it’s two or three or more woven together rather than just a strand alone….
    This makes total sense and helping to promote others is a wonderful way to show others the importance of independent writers and booksellers. Standing together makes perfect sense.
    And of course- to communicate that we need social media. It’s the vehicle in which we get the information into the minds of those who matter. Which is everyone who reads it.
    Probably a good thing to remember is that while you had 25 people in attendance, there were probably a few more than that who had seen the article about the evening. A seed was planted. Next time, with the same promotion and push- you could very well have more. Especially if this past the 25 saw the wonderful aftermath and exactly what they missed. Social media follow up after an event can be just as valuable!
    And don’t forget adding a call to action. Perhaps everyone who comes to an event can have a chance at a free signed copy- etc.
    marketing. It’s fun to be creative with! And learning its value is important!

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    Yes, Kayla had some good ideas — she had a basket of fun stuff that we raffled off.  Everyone got a ticket for attending, and then an extra ticket for signing up for our newsletters.  Smart, huh?  I need to remember to do fun stuff like this!  Everyone loves the chance to win something.

  5. Zan Marie

    I guess that’s why I focus on mini book reviews and author interviews on my blog. Whether that helps me if/when I get published, we’ll see. I can’t wait for your new book. Come on pub date!

  6. Charlotte Dixon

    Yes, come on publishers! We got a rejection this morning, but my agent tells me not to worry about it, we've got tons more to go, so I'm following her advice!

  7. Zan Marie

    Good luck!

  8. Charlotte Dixon

    Thank you!

  9. Don Williams

    You know, what you wrote about is rather Biblical, as Luke 6:38 says:

    “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

    Also, as the Bible also states in Acts 20″35:

    “It is more blessed to give than receive.”

    Helping others some how always seems to end up helping the one who is doing the helping in the process as well. In oher words – it’s a win, win situation. Not sure how it works, but it seems to work every time. It seems like it is a law or something, but I do know that it works wonders. Of course, we should never help in hope of helping ourselves in the process, but giving (thinking of and actually helping others) can do as much good for the helper as the one you are helping, if that makes any sense?

    Another great post Charlotte. I only wish I could have been there, at what sounds like a wonderful book store, when you did the reading.

  10. Charlotte Dixon

    I love this, Don, thank you! And I wish you could have been there, too!

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