The Totality of Marketing for Writers

2 Jan

I have a news flash for you:  everything you do is a part of marketing your product.

Including your product!

I don’t care if you write novels, blog for a living, or submit articles to magazines . . . everything you do is a part of your marketing program.

My wife Bev and I play this little game while watching television.  We rate commercials.  It’s nothing too complicated . . . the rating system spectrum is something like “that sucked” to “totally tubular, man!”

There was one commercial that really stood out. I think it was for Volkswagen, and it happened a couple months ago.  Some family took a cross-country road trip with grandpa’s ashes, and it was a series of memories of love ending with them on a cliff side tossing the ashes into the sea . . . and it was powerful, so powerful, in fact, that I have remembered it for quite awhile.

It was powerful and effective because it played to our emotions.  We have all experienced the loss of a loved one.  It was something we could all relate to, and I think that is the point many writers completely ignore . . . their work, their notifications, their blogs, and their marketing materials, all should be something we, the buying public, can relate to and want to experience more of.

Give me a reason to read your blog.  What is there about your blog that is unique?  What does your blog give me that I didn’t have before?

Give me a reason to read your novel. What is there about your novel that hasn’t been done, ad nauseum, a million times before?

Give me a reason to get excited about your product.  I am bombarded by between 4000 and 10,000 ads per day, so why should I pay any attention to your product?

Be brutally honest in answering those questions. The answers you get just might make a difference in your sales one day.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

27 Responses to “The Totality of Marketing for Writers”

  1. Janine Huldie January 2, 2018 at 3:11 pm #

    Love this, Bill and I think we all need a reason to do certain things, such as reading blogs and/or novels or just even watching a show on TV. So, couldn’t agree more. Oh and your rating commercials together is quite honestly one of the most awesome things I have heard in a long time now. Happy Tuesday once again, my friend 🙂

    • Billybuc January 2, 2018 at 3:30 pm #

      Thanks Janine! Bev and I do have fun together. I appreciate you more than you probably know.

  2. Manatita January 2, 2018 at 3:20 pm #

    You keep hitting the nail on its head Bro. Go 2018!!

    • Billybuc January 2, 2018 at 3:30 pm #

      I’ve got a good hammer, Manatita. 🙂

  3. Carol Stanley January 2, 2018 at 3:59 pm #

    I love the emotion part. sometimes the commercials have nothing to do with the product but they make me sad or happy or another type of emotion…And I like the comment about what we have to offer as an author..

    • Billybuc January 2, 2018 at 4:10 pm #

      It’s smart marketing, Carol, to play to the buyer’s emotions. I hate to feel I’m being manipulated, but I admire it nonetheless. 🙂 Thanks my friend.

  4. Mike January 2, 2018 at 4:54 pm #

    Happy New Year. Here I find another good motivational presentation. I spend a lot of time promoting books and authors. It is an uphill battle, with few victories.

    • Billybuc January 2, 2018 at 5:09 pm #

      Mike, true, you do….it would be nice to see you promote yourself once in awhile. Happy New Year my friend and thank you for all you do.

  5. 1authorcygnetbrown January 2, 2018 at 9:33 pm #

    I have been reading a lot lately about this subject. Matter of fact, I have taken time off from writing my books to study marketing. Two things that you allude to here are know your target audience and know their desires.

    • Billybuc January 3, 2018 at 12:14 am #

      yes indeed, Donna! this is an area most writers know practically nothing about, but if they are serious about sales they better learn….thanks for being here.

  6. Sageleaf January 2, 2018 at 11:19 pm #

    Big Bro – 4K and 10K ads we’re exposed to every day!? I mean it makes sense, but dang! Commercials, ads on websites, ads in the mail, ads on cereal boxes, ads at the store – that’s incredible. lol
    Anyways, you make me think of the power of storytelling – but telling it from our perspective, our voice. And it takes awhile to really find our voice. I have a voice that I finally see emerging in all my stuff. I’m sure everyone else could see it before I have, but I want to grow and hone that voice so that it sings and inspires from the mountaintops. lol
    Thank you for your thought-provoking post. Sending you big hugs and wishes for a fantastic week! Send hugs to Bev for me. 🙂

    • Billybuc January 3, 2018 at 12:16 am #

      Thanks Lil Sis! I, too, thought that number was too high, but once you think about it…just online alone…the number now seems realistic.

      Yes, you have a discernible writing voice. I would recognize your writing any old time…so you have arrived!

      Hugs from chilly Olympia

  7. marlenebertrand January 3, 2018 at 1:58 am #

    Excellent information, Bill. I am holding on to your words, “Everything you do is a part of marketing your product.” My goal for 2018 is to streamline the things that I do so that my name can be identified with a product, service, or idea. I have a lot of interests, so I’m still working on what that might be. And, your blog today makes it crystal clear that this is extremely important. Thanks for mentioning it.

    • Billybuc January 3, 2018 at 3:00 pm #

      I’m happy to hear that, Marlene! Best wishes on that task and goal…and again, Happy New Year dear friend. I’m sending you a virtual hug.

  8. Dee January 3, 2018 at 8:06 pm #

    Good thought to ponder on marketing your product: what is different? There are a few, a few, commercials out there that leave me with a good feeling or convince me to buy their product. As you write, they leave a lasting impression.

    • Billybuc January 4, 2018 at 2:43 pm #

      Thank you very much, Dee! Happy New Year, my friend.

  9. Eyes Straight Ahead (Shell Vera) January 5, 2018 at 12:48 am #

    I would love to see a video of one of these rating sessions because I have this image in my mind of what it would be like and I am smiling wide. I liked these questions, they helped me think about a couple things I am working on, including my own blog (which really isn’t for everyone since the posts are long and on subjects most don’t like to talk about). This really got me thinking. Thank you! ~Shell

  10. Sarah Potter Writes January 8, 2018 at 4:23 pm #

    Perhaps I should start watching commercials instead of fast-forwarding through them, then I might learn something valuable about marketing my novels. One of the problems is that not everybody is looking for something original to read. They prefer something that follows a tested and tried formula. It is therefore doubly challenging to come up with marketing material that persuades people to read something that is outside various accepted formulae. The same goes for favourite types of programmes on TV. Personally, I’m a bit stick-in-the-mud when it comes to what I’ll watch, as there are only so many viewing hours I’m willing to spend, which means that a preview advertising an upcoming programme has to really grab my attention in a few seconds, and if it’s very original, it has to hit me right between the eyes with its weirdness. For instance, I’ve just started watching two dramas on UK TV — the thriller “McMafia” and Season 6 of the subtitled French detective thriller “Spiral”. Both are predictably the type of shows I’m sure would appeal to me. However, a little time back there was a gritty historical drama called “Taboo” that was mega-weird and original — there were two things that sold it to me in advance. Firstly, it had Tom Hardy acting the main part, plus he was its co-director. Secondly, the adverts for it had grabbed me, both on the TV and on BBC Radio 4. This leads me to make a further point, that whether you’re an unknown film producer/actor whose involved in an original movie, or an unknown author who has written an original book, you are going to have to come up with something pretty grand to mega-wow your potential audience, compared to anyone trying trying to market anything involving Tom Hardy or J.K. Rowling. That being said, there was a time when nobody had ever heard of either of them, so someone must have got the marketing right! …Phew, Bill, I’ve just written a blog post-length comment, which proves that your post it great food for thought! Perhaps I should employ you as my marketing manager. Wishing you a wonderful week, my dear friend 🙂

    • Billybuc January 8, 2018 at 4:30 pm #

      I love it, Sarah! I love the connection I feel with you, picking your brain from across the Pond. You hit on something which drives me crazy…most readers are looking for the tested and tried formula…true words. James Patterson comes to mind. He doesn’t even write his novels any longer. He outlines the story and then has a ghostwriter do it for him…but because his characters are familiar to millions of readers, and his literary style rather simplistic, people keep buying his books by the millions. I can see a time when Patterson will die and none of his readers will be the wiser. His books will keep on being written “by him” twenty years after his death.


      See what you did to me with your comment!

      Have a great week, dear friend.

      • Sarah Potter Writes January 8, 2018 at 4:35 pm #

        I didn’t know that about Patterson. My husband has just read one of his novels and really enjoyed it. He has left it for me to read, but I’ve been resisting doing so up until now… well, maybe I will read it, just to see how the ghost writer has done!

      • Billybuc January 8, 2018 at 4:36 pm #

        It’s been going on for several years now…amazing to me!

  11. Andrea Stephenson January 8, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

    Very interesting thoughts Bill. That’s sometimes when the doubts set in, when you try to think about what it is about your writing that is different from others, and why someone should read it. But I think I’m getting to a point when I’m beginning to understand what I have to offer.

    • Billybuc January 8, 2018 at 11:31 pm #

      Andrea, in my humble opinion, you have a great deal to offer. Your writing is like a fine wine, my friend.

    • Billybuc January 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm #

      Truth, and you are very welcome!

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