Monday, March 15, 2021

Learn to Promote Your Book & Your Brand from the 2020 CAN Crown Marketing Award Winners

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

The 2020 CAN Crown Marketing Award winners created great campaigns to promote books and brands. Each campaign had a specific focus, but the authors worked in multiple directions to achieve their goals. We can learn from their success.

Winning Broadcast Campaign

Susan Neal won gold for Outstanding Broadcast for her Healthy Living Brand. She made strategic plans that included changing categories for her books, grouping her books into a brand, and worked hard to be a guest on media. Her books placed in the top 100 within specific categories and one jumped to a number one spot when put in the healthy diet category. That meant Amazon applied a best seller sticker to her book and that upped sales to 800 copies within a month. The software Publisher Rocket helped her identify categories and keywords to use.

In creating her Healthy Living brand, she grouped three of her books into a series and pulled all her books under one umbrella. This helped viewers find her books and see the others when they ordered one. Pitching her brand to media offered a broader variety of topics and allowed hosts to choose the one most relevant to their audience. She sought podcasts and media shows through organizations where she’s a member plus subscribed to services that list podcasts and radio shows seeking guests. That landed her more than thirty guest spots on podcasts, radio, and television.

Susan also worked on Pinterest and hired someone to manage her account. With great memes that she also shared on her website she increased her views on Pinterest from 2000 monthly to 1.5 million and her website hits increased ten-fold to 6736 per month. She tracked her efforts on a spreadsheet that included where she pitched, response, and ROI.

Winning Web Presence Campaign

Carla Hoch won gold for her brand FightWrite™ where she teaches authors to create realistic fight scenes. She gave the brand a makeover in 2020 and created a website rather than simply her blog. That raised it to a more professional level. It took a while for the site to get traction, but she continued posting and studied her analytics plus offered a free reference guide on injuries and a discount for her Writer’s Digest class she teaches under her brand. Once it took off her monthly views increased from 2000 to 7000. 

Carla also believes in using calls to action. Her first calls to action focused on readers sending questions for her to answer on her blog. Chosen authors that she answered gave her a boost as they shared the post with their networks. In turn, many of those authors featured her on their podcasts or blogs or posted about her on their Instagram accounts. Her brand includes her book, videos, podcasts, and merchandise. Her site has been named in Writer’s Digest top 100 sites for writers.

Outstanding Visual Media Campaign

Winners Michelle Medlock Adams and Bethany Jett started the marketing before designing the book and their strategies helped sell 1500 copies in the first three weeks of release. They included a sidebar with every weekly devotional that fit their tagline of Real. Raw. Resourceful. The used takeaways in the book to create a 52-week funnel that delivered a new takeaway to newsletter readers.

To reach the media hosts they planned a consistent campaign that started with color and whitespace to become more recognizable. That helped build the brand and used the colors of the book cover. They used the colors in Facebook ads also that reached 10,524 people in a month long campaign.

They also stuck to their goal to include as many of the “hats” that mom wear as possible. They targeted moms who represented the different roles for summit interviews they did and reflected those voices in their media interviews. They landed many interviews including Faith Radio show The Meeting House, All Mom Does podcast, Moms on the Mic podcast, and Moody Radio Spokane. Their efforts also helped them grow their newsletter readership to 13,000.

Lessons from the Pros

What do all these winning marketers have in common? Planning, setting goals, and developing strategies to reach the goals. As you think marketing, consider these concepts:
  • Identify categories in Amazon to increase visibility
  • Organize your efforts to easily track your activities
  • Use “Call to Actions” to grab attention of readers
  • Coordinate book cover colors with your mems and visual materials
  • Build in takeaways in your book to expand those into posts hen marketing
  • Consider the wider audience and how to incorporate them into your marketing

Karen Whiting (WWW.KARENWHITING.COM) is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-seven books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, The Gift of Bread: Recipes for the Heart and the Table reflects her passion for bread and growing up helping at her grandparent’s restaurant. Check out her newest book Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love from Mothers Past, Present, and Future. It's full of heartwarming and teary eyed stories of moms.

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


  1. Thank you for detailing these success stories, Karen. Very interesting and thought-provoking. :)

  2. I find I learn from other people's success stories.