Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Wordsmith's Marketing Ideas for Authors

When I wrote my first book, I didn’t know the first thing about marketing. But I did have one strategy I learned along the way that really helped get the word out about my books and keep them in print longer: writing chapters and content that could be easily be adapted to magazine articles.

There were many benefits of this kind of marketing: One was making extra income in the “chicken today-feathers tomorrow” life of a writer. In addition, the articles I wrote for Family Circle, Guideposts, Better Homes and Gardens (all still in business), and other magazines promoted the book that I’d adapted the content from and the author bio promoted my other books. In some cases, those articles led to being on a major radio shows like “NBC News” and “Focus on the Family.” The content was used in textbooks (good pay), church newsletters, MOPS publications, etc. And several times publishers called me and said, “We were just looking for an author to write a book on this topic and read your article in so-and-so magazine. Could you expand it for us?”

As I continued freelancing alongside my book career, magazine editors often called me for feature articles on my latest book or a previous one. I asked for (and got) full-color photos of the extended the shelf-life of my books and created new audiences for my work.

Now, I know that many Christian magazines have folded—but don’t tune out yet! There are still a few good markets for established writers. No, it’s not like it was in the late 80’s and 90’s where Christian publications abounded and editors called us. But make a trip to Barnes & Noble or a local bookstore and visit the magazine rack. You’ll find more magazines that relate to family, mothering, and a host of other topics than we ever imagined a decade ago—and the content you’ve already written in your books may hit the target audience that buys them.

The Internet offers lots of opportunities to promote your books. Take the same principles I’ve shared above and adapt it to offering content to websites and blogsites. Think also about the possibilities of how you can recycle your material on the Internet. For example, a column I wrote on my website (www.cherifuller.com) for a few years grew into an award-winning book for moms after it caught the attention of a book publisher. I’ve written articles and content for my own e-newsletters, Christian-Mommies.com, Family.org, websites for stay-at-home and homeschooling moms, New York parenting websites that led to live national web-chats, selling a bundle of my books on the featured topic.

In a future blog, I’ll share some keys to writing for those secular publications and the Internet plus how to shape your chapters into compelling short articles, sidebars, and marketable pieces. I look forward to gaining some of your great marketing ideas as well. Happy writing, friends!

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