Monday, September 16, 2019

Helping Authors Understand Marketing

by Karen H. Whiting @KarenHWhiting

We all know the purpose of marketing is to reach customers in a way that motivates them to buy. Behind that basic concept there are many theories. I have no degree in marketing but have read many books and studied various theories that can apply t books. I want to share a few theories and how they work for authors. Let’s look at a few books and the theories they present.

Pyromarketing (Book by Greg Seistra)
This theory compares marketing to getting a fire going and keeping it going. That takes four steps.
  1. Start with gathering the very driest tinder. For books, that means the people who desperately need your book (identify those who need it)
  2. Light it with a match (inspire followers, grab interest)
  3. Fan the flames to make it flourish (add fuel)
  4. Save the coals (keep records of followers)

We need to know how to apply the concepts. My new book is just now launching so the results are not known yet, but I have plan in place and taking shape.
  1. For my new, 52 Weekly Devotions For Families Who Serve, I started connecting to groups of families/parents who had a family member who serves. This including Christian organizations for the military, law enforcement, and police. The leader of one group of law enforcement spouse and a group of military wives expressed a great need for a resource for the families. I targeted those for blog posts, online release parties, and interviews.
  2. Light a match. This means to evoke a positive emotional response so people light up about the book. I did a FB live and had hundreds tune in on the release date. I tagged some group leaders to keep it going. I did more than chat about the book. I shared personal experiences and showed an easy craft to do with children connected to the book.
    • I started posting about the book with steps on how to do devotions, interviews, and radio shows in areas with high concentrations of military
  1. Fan the flames. I will continue to help the targeted groups with information, free handouts, and more. I am also working on sharing memes that have had great success at being shared in groups that target the same audience.
  2. Save the coals.  Your newsletter list becomes your coals as they are loyal followers. I tapped into them to create my launch team.

The Tipping Point (Book by Malcolm Gladwell)
A study of how sexual diseases spread in Baltimore highlights the different type of people that cause a fad or disease to spread. It identified three types of people that help fads and other things spread. Identify people who fill these roles to be on your team for launching a book:
  1. Mavens are people who collect information and share it. People turn to them when they want to know something or to find a resource. 
  2. Connectors are natural networkers who move between groups of people and share information.
  3. Salespeople (persuaders) make ideas stick and convince people they need a certain product.

Consider ways this applies to marketing books with what happened with my inspirational craft books for girls (God’s Girls) that had twenty printings.
  1. & 3. My daughter heard me talk about the book as I wrote it. Once I had a copy, she wanted copies but lived a few sates away in North Carolina. I didn’t realize it would take a month or two after review copies for retailers to get them and shelf them. Rebecca, as a maven, drove to five Christian bookstores in her driving area. She not only asked for them. She shared all about the contents and why girls would love them. She stopped by or called weekly. Five weeks late she walked into a store and spotted afront end cap filled with the books. She picked up a copy. The manager made a beeline for her and repeated all Rebecca had shared. Others listened in to this salesperson and picked up copies. The other stores also had the books prominently displayed and a salesperson or manager who shared about the book, repeating Rebecca’s words. The book took off.
  2. I met a book reviewer for a prominent national homeschool magazine a year after the book released and was in a second printing. We chatted and she asked for review copies. She received them from the publisher and dropped them on her stack of books. Her daughter spotted the books, grabbed them, and they had a tug of war. She promised her daughter she’d review them right then and the pass them to her. Instead of a normal review, she wrote an article and shared the tug-of-war with her daughter. The sales doubled because her piece was so persuasive.

The last one I’ll mention in marketing is Paul who spread Christianity more than any other individual in the early church. He was a one-man team who used every opportunity to market the message of the Gospel. Nothing stopped him (snakebites, shipwrecks, beatings) and he trained disciples to create a ministry team that continued to spread the news. He found enthusiastic believers to become helpers.

Learn from the above to gather reach your audience, gather the right team of individuals, and use every opportunity to market.

Helping Authors Understand Marketing - @KarenHWhiting on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Learn from others and find the way to make the best marketing choices - @KarenHWhiting on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Karen Whiting ( is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-six books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, uses stories, activities, and chat prompts to help families develop servant hearts and foster strong bonds in families who have members serving the community, nation, or world.

She has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than seven hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Leading Hearts and Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting, Pinterest KarenWhiting, and FB KarenHWhiting


  1. Great points to make Ms. Karen. If I may suggest, another of my favorites is like me (old) is Positioning - The Battle for your Mind by Msrs. Al Reid and Jack Trout. Praying for a great impact for God's kingdom with your latest book ma'am.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. Not directly a marketing book but it helps peope understand how others think, including the readers.

  2. Thanks and I will add those to my reading list.