Monday, August 17, 2020

Tips to Add Marketing Pizzazz to Your Publishing Plan, Part 2

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

In my last post on Marketing Pizzazz, we looked at how Disney developed marketing ideas to keep customers loyal as outlined in their book Be Our Guest. Disney developed marketing ideas to keep customers loyal. Let’s look at a few more ways to apply Disney’s promotional concepts to books. Disney considers it all customer service, and we should too.

The WOW of Process
As Walt Disney expanded from creating his own cartoon to a large brand with a theme park, he needed more organization to track everything and let followers know what to expect next. Following his model, process is about communication and connections with readers. Loyal fans want to experience our books to the fullest. That means understanding the road map of the locations in the book. In fiction, this includes character development, and plot twists in fiction. In nonfiction, it means encouraging the application of ideas as well as understanding long term benefits.

Another aspect of process is maintaining an organizational system to manage the information. Keeping a spread sheet or other record of the process should include the marketing activities, reader needs, and book content. Keeping it all in one place helps everything flow together. Marketing with articles, interviews, memes, blog posts, and more, should add to the core message and continue to bring hope to readers or add to the story. Sharing the news of either the contract of the cover reveal begins the marketing process. Blog or social media posts can become part of the story as you disclose what’s happening, share a little about the reader benefits, and why you want to write the book. Recordkeeping helps you know what’s happening and enables you to choose when to share information.

In building theme parks, Walt Disney wanted a location and attractions that provided extra value extra value to develop connections with the reader. He called it plussing. In writing, this is where you give readers more than expected. It can be as simple as a discount coupon or a free download. 

Instead of viewing each marketing task as a separate entity, we use a process to build layers of marketing, so it all works together. This brings continuity to promotional efforts. For example, connecting author speaking events to buying the book purchase develops continuity. As potential readers learn more ahead of the event, via radio and other media, you can build sales momentum. Combine those efforts with posts of upcoming appearance and special messages or activities you’ll do in person. These are components of a strategic plan, the outcome of a good process.

The WOW of Integration
Create an environment the reader enjoys by integrating your story and talking points with their lives. This brings all the plans together to have a book sell well where the book is well written and edited, the release goes smoothly, and readers respond by buying. You have delivered. Now you can keep things going as you incorporate what readers let you know they want. 

Excited and positive responses from readers draws other readers. The author integrates the purpose of the message behind the book by connecting in person and online. This can include creating memes with positive comments from readers or combining elements of marketing to take advantage of the opportunity for more touch points to connect with readers. For example, posting reader comments of a book on grief opens doors for others to share their grief journey. That can lead to retreats with the author.
Negative comments are challenges to reach out to your reader community. Hurting readers write a bad review because the book did not provide what they needed. Perhaps they need a different book you can recommend plus a little clarity of your message to remind readers what the book does address. Or the author can write a blog post to show an insight into the book connecting to that need. Some of the comments will challenge the author to improve in the next book or to redefine the brand.

Disney looked at complaints as challenges to improve and integrate new solutions into the parks. That takes analysis and innovation. So, if a book’s opening and cast of characters confuses people, make a downloadable document that lists main people in the story. Listen, analyze, and consider how to respond to complaints. That helps readers know you value them. 

The WOW Endings with Fireworks
 A day at a park usually ends with fireworks or a parade, something big that sparkles and leaves an impression. For books, the ending should be the sparkle that leaves an impression. Gathering the quotes from happy readers and using them in memes or social media stories shares that wow with potential readers.
When an author knows the book is part of a series, the final wow is often a glimpse into what comes next. Provide a way to sign up for your newsletter for the reader to be among the first to see the next cover or to know when to preorder.
For others, a page in the back of the book that shares how to connect with the author for more interaction or contact information to have the author come speak to a group adds that final wow with a promise that there’s more the author will share.

Step back, check how your overall plan for marketing is working, and see what wow factors you can add!


Don't Miss the Other Post in this Series

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. Karen,

    Thank you for this article and series about Walt Disney. He was organized, intentional and action-oriented with the marketplace. From my observation about the writing community, many have the attitude of "if I write it, people will read it--whether I do anything to market or not." And this is not true. Writers need to be taking action to reach readers--on a daily basis.

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    1. So true Terry but then many do not succeed. You and I have been able to stick around a long time and continue to learn

  2. Thank you for this useful writing. I will certainly put your suggestions to good use as a somewhat beginner trying to learn what is best for writing, marketing, etc. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information.

    1. You are welcome. Choose the marketing activities that fit your style and yourreaches your audience.

  3. Thank you for this great advice, Karen. I especially like what you said about using negative comments in a positive way. Getting a book published is only the beginning of the process. Getting it "out there" is phase two.

  4. How well you and i know that my friend. Congrats on your Golden Scroll Award!