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When to think about marketing your book Editor's Notes #89
September 15, 2010

All our dreams can come true,
if we have the courage to pursue them.

--Walt Disney

In this issue:

1. When to think of marketing your book
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Future issues

1.When to think of marketing your book
First of all, let's be clear that anyone who writes a book these days needs to be involved in marketing. One of the saddest things I find when I talk to writers who depended on others (a traditional publisher or a print on demand company) to market their writing is the disappointment in the eyes of those who feel betrayed.

No matter who does what with your book, you need to be involved in marketing.

Recently I surveyed self-publishing writers, all of whom had finished books on display and for sale at a table at a writers' festival. I asked each whether they began to think of marketing
  • immediately
  • while writing
  • between writing and printing
  • after printing

I discovered another group. Those who were
  • not yet thinking about marketing

I received 17 answers. Here are the results:
  • Immediately -- 9 writers
  • While writing -- 1 writer
  • Between writing and printing -- 2 writers
  • After printing -- 2 writers
  • Not yet thinking about marketing -- 3 writers

What does this mean for you as a writer? Does it mean you should write only what you know you can sell? Not necessarily.

Some writers write simply to explore the world of ideas. Those writers do not necessarily care about finding a market. Their writings are just as valid as the writings of others who write with a clear audience. Sometimes the writers with no intent to profit open new fields of human exploration.

But if you are going to put money into printing your own book, please, please, please, please, please consider marketing before you go to press. Ideally, you are thinking about your market long before you spend any money. The earlier you think about your market, the better.

If you know exactly who will buy your book, you will have a much better chance of getting sales, whether you self-publish or publish traditionally. And sales will mean you stay out of the red as a writer.

I can tell you that the acquisitions editor at any publishing company is thinking about marketing from the first word of any submitted manuscript. Your proposal will get more attention if you can say who you think will buy your book.

By the way, if you are writing a memoir meant only for family, that is your market. Knowing now many copies you are likely to need, even if you are going to pay for them all, will allow you to approach printers like a professional.


2.Tickled my funnybone
A lot of money is tainted. 'Tain't yours and 'tain't mine.


3. Interesting Web site

There is a lot going on for writers at


4. Future issues
The next three issues will deal with a general writing topic, writers' Web sites, and finally a return to the self-publishing survey results.


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