Monday, July 20, 2020

Tips to Add Marketing Pizzazz to Your Publishing Plan, Part 1

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

No one adds sparkle, pizzazz, or builds experiences that beckon us to return like Disney. Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service written by the Disney Institute shares secrets of success for their marketing to customers. Let’s apply those ideas to book marketing to add WOW factors of service, cast, setting, and more. 

The WOW of Service
Disney studied what people want and built parks to give them memorable experiences. The marketing drew them to the promised adventure. Our marketing should draw readers to want to experience our books.

I apply these principles to serve readers when I create FB live videos that share baking, crafts or activities related to my books. I often extend these videos with free downloads of  patterns or information on my website. Smiling as I talk and showing that something is doable ,with a finished product that looks great, provides the WOW!

Service in nonfiction with short chats and downloadable tip sheets that helps people make a change immediately. In fiction, that wow can be experienced with insightful tip sheets to characters, a map of the story location, or a clip on why you wrote the book. It gives readers insights or a guide map. 

The WOW of Cast
You and the characters in your book, the people in the anecdotes and stories became the cast that interacts with the reader and touches their hearts. In marketing, we should always be aware of the vision behind the book, so it is conveyed with what we do and through the cast. 

People want to know you, the writer, thus video clips and podcasts remain popular. They want to know you though social media, to discover the reason behind the book, why you wrote the book, and what you hope they’ll gain.
The vision for my book 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve us to develop servant hearts in children through the stories of real people serving others, Bible stories of people who served, and hands on activities that inspire children to serve. When I market, I offer little ways to serve others. I wrote a family beatitude for each week’s devotional activities and use that in memes to help convey the vision of service.

Know your core message and make sure that all the marketing is wrapped around it. If it on peace, use peaceful backgrounds in memes, or have a gentle voice as you speak. If it is about overcoming grief, be comforting with words and promotion. 

The cast shows courtesy at all times starting with making eye contact to show they care and will listen. This is done in marketing with the tone used and also the words chosen. It’s also done when we arrive on time to speak, thank the host for the opportunity, and only use the allocated time. I know one conference director who removes nives from ever speaking again who goes overtime. To her, speaker did not respect the audience’s time and did not care if it caused scheduling problems for the program.

The wow of cast continues with appreciation. Show gratitude following an interview with a thank you note, thank the audience for listening, and through free handouts on your website.

The WOW of Setting
At Disney there’s never just a ride whether it’s a roller coaster or a merry-go-round. Each attraction develops a story and related experience. In our books we use the power of story to draw in our audience and to make out talking points relatable. Each story provides the opening to the ideas and concepts we share. 

Other settings people see are websites, newsletters, and book tables. Tables allows us to showcase books but should also be welcoming with little touches that reflect the vision. I usually have a side area where kids can pick up or make something, since I am about family and offering creative ideas. I try to have the other end be efficient for transactions to make things easy for customers to show I value their time. I include a bookmark with sales to add the little pizzazz. When there’s room and electricity, I display a photo frame slideshow of the books that includes reader benefits. 

Some websites use a quiz or other catchy way to invite people to the website area that will address their specific needs. That helps readers move quickly to meet their specific needs.
My website banner includes a background of green plants since I want to help families and relationships grow. I have a welcome note on the top half of the front page with an invite for my newsletter. I also have a sidebar with my latest blog posts and the bottom of the page offers other news.

Newsletters should have a banner that matches the website, welcomes readers, and continues the vision with news and links. Take a look at points of contact with readers to see how you serve them and add more if needed.

Take the First Step!
Disney show us how to create an environment where the book and marketing flow together. They conducts orientation programs for new employees, so they’ll be able to share the vision. Sharing your vision with your launch team as your first step. They can help on that vision. Then let your marketing share your dreams with readers.


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. Thanks for the great post, Karen! As I considered your words, a great inspiration of how to apply them to my core message came to me. Appreciate you! :)

  2. Your posts are so helpful - if I only were better at putting them to use!! But I'm trying. Thanks for sharing. I think I am getting better - at least my novel, "Two Sisters' Secret" was released in print version on May 6 of this year! Thanks to all who post on The Write Conversation and especially to Edie Melson!