Monday, April 18, 2022

Accessorize Your Writing to Increase Marketing Potential

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Adding the right tie to a man’s suit, or jewelry or scarf to a woman’s outfit can transform the piece to a fashion statement. Ties offer pops of color while other accessories complete a look. The same is true in writing. Adding the right accessories to your writing makes it pop and adds details that create a style and provide content that attracts attention. Like a scarf that can be added in multiple ways and used with other outfits, the right accessory becomes a marketing accessory from which you can get more mileage in promoting a book or a series of books. 

The most often used writing accessory is the sidebar. These little boxes appear adjacent to the main text and add value. They add appeal and break up the text to add more white space that’s pleasing to the eye. They are separate and can often stand alone, to make perfect little marketing tools. Sidebars are also easy to write and a great tool for readers to skim when they want to find a key point in a book. 

Contents of sidebars very widely from sharing information or opinions to providing tools like a recipe referenced in the text or tips on how to apply the text. They can be as short as a quote that add to reinforces the authors’ words to provide authority, to a list of steps or resources the reader can readily use. It might even be a small article that elaborates on one point or reference in th text. 

Sidebars can become memes to market a book, or the main points of an article related to the book. They can give more depth to an article or book chapter that can be expanded further in a speech. In a book for raising children, my co-author added a dad toolbox box in each chapter. That made it easy for men to skim through ideas to apply and find activities to enjoy with their daughters.

Bullet Points
Using bullet points to highlight information within a text can draw the reader’s attention and be a great way to summarize material presented. That helps readers recall the most important steps or information presented.

These lists are usually set off in the layout and thus be another way to summarize or highlight information within the text. That provides a way to highlight information that can also be a springboard for articles, talks, and social media posts. A numbered list can be done to order steps or provide excitement with a countdown list.

For a series of family devotions I wrote, I included a few sets of bulleted points for every unit. One provided simple activities to explore the week’s topis while another gave scriptures with chat prompts to engage the family in conversations that reinforced the lessons that steered the toward applications.

Additional material at the end of a chapter offers a place and easy way to engage readers and provide action steps and applications. Repeating these tools at the end of chapters inspires readers to keep reading. Ones often used are reflective questions, pithy statements to summarize the chapter’s content, closing prayers, or action steps. Use these as part of a marketing plan. The reflective questions can become the basis of a study guide to accompany the book. Pithy statements can be turned into memes. 

My family devotions ended with summary called a wrap-up. It encouraged a final discussion idea or action. These can be used as a collection of chat prompts in a sidebar of an article, or for weekly social media family chat prompts.

Charts and Graphis
Visual additions to text also break up pages to add something catchy that is also informative. I added a personality chart in a Bible study for moms to help them understand their children and provide ideas for how to best help each child according to his or her personality. 

Some authors have developed a basic image that shows the main concept of the book, especially if the book brings an inner transformation or promotes a basic idea to apply. This can even become a brand image. That can be seen in the recycling icon that went viral and became a symbol everywhere.

Other Accessory Elements
Other elements to add interest include solid bars to highlight headers, callouts, and other little tools that add interest to a layout. The callouts and certain highlighted text can be quotes ton post and collections of pithy statement to use in pass it on cards that promote a book. Well placed callouts can also be to set apart major talking points of a book. Those can become article prompts and ideas for potential new talks for the author.

What will you do for you current or future projects? Use the following list as a prompt in designing your book’s visual components.
  • Sidebars to be repeated, that offer applications or more information.
  • End of chapter addons to engage the reader and summarize major points.
  • Charts or graphs or important information or steps to take.
  • Background information, related recipes or activities, or other ideas to use in a sidebar or short bulleted lists within paragraphs.
Have fun adding accessories to your writing to grab attention and fuel 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. Karen, I never knew all these items had names... thanks for explaining how to use them intentionally. :)

  2. Karen, you are a professional idea machine!

  3. These are fantastic ideas, Karen! Thank you.