Promotion That Has Worked for Me by Marilyn Meredith aka F. M. Meredith

Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith

My first book came out in 1982 long before most folks had computers and there was no such thing as the Internet. I had no idea that I should be promoting my book or if I had, how to go about it. The publishing company (and it was one of the biggies at the time) sent me a few complimentary books and I gave them away. I arranged my one and only book signing at a local bookstore and had a nice crowd. Being the only published author around, I received some good newspaper publicity.

Since that time, and about 34 books later, not only have things changed drastically, but I’ve learned a lot about promotion and tried just about everything anyone suggested. I started out sending flyers about new books with tear-off order blanks to all my friends and relatives. I may have sold enough books to pay for the postage.

I’ve given many, many talks at libraries—something I still like to do. When the economy took a dive, people still came to hear what I had to say, but fewer bought books. I’ve given talks at Rotary Clubs, other service and women’s organizations, fun and sometimes quite successful.

I’ve had booths at book fairs and craft fairs and done well at both. One thing I’ve learned, is that you must engage people as they are strolling past. Ask them to come take a look at your books, or in my case, I often ask if they like mysteries. Once you can start telling a bit about each of your books, they are far more likely to purchase a book than if you don’t put yourself out a little. Believe me, I’ve seen authors at book fairs sit in a chair and read and never look up even when someone is perusing their book.

I’ve had book launches in all sorts of interesting places: art galleries, our local inn, a new-age recreation center, my home, and several at a used bookstore.

Of course, now we have the computer and the Internet and there are all sorts of places that we can promote our books for free. I love Facebook for many reasons. It is a great place to promote books, make new friends, keep up with the old ones and find out what is going on with my family. I’ve promoted books that have just come out, new posts on my own blog, and my stops on blog tours.

That brings me to one of my favorite promotions, blog tours. I’ve paid blog companies to arrange them for me but finally realized I could do tours myself and find more logical blogs to visit. It is a lot of work from beginning to end if you do it right. You need to contact the blogs you want to visit, find out what they’d like you to write (you want to have something different on every post), arrange the schedule, take the time to write the posts and send everything along that is needed: the post, a .jpg of your cover, one of you, a blurb about the book, your bio, and links. You need to remind the host the day before the post is to appear and you have to promote the post when it does. It’s important to visit the blog and respond to everyone who comments. There are glitches, but that’s a whole other subject.

Do blog tours result in sales? Yes, though not huge sales I’ve read about from other authors—but I love doing them. I usually offer a prize to get people to follow along. I never give away the book I’m promoting, because I’m hoping for sales, but I do give away earlier books in a series. But the most popular prize is always having the winners name used for a character in the next book.

In fact, I love blogging. Why? I think mainly because I’m a writer and I love to write. What do I write about? All sorts of things: my books, what I’m doing, my family, book reviews, movies, and I love hosting other authors.

I do Tweet, but not the way some people do. I use Twitter to promote new blog posts, my blog tours and my appearances. I don’t have enough time for more because I’m writing two books a year.

DAngerousImpulses,NewCoverThe latest, Dangerous Impulses written as F. M. Meredith. An attractive new-hire captivates Officer Gordon Butler, Officer Felix Zachary’s wife is befuddled by her new baby, Ryan and Barbara Strickland receive unsettling news, while the bloody murder of a mother and her son and an unidentified drug that sickens teenaged partiers jolts the Rocky Bluff P.D.

18 thoughts on “Promotion That Has Worked for Me by Marilyn Meredith aka F. M. Meredith

  1. EARL STAGGS says:

    You’ve convinced me, Marilyn. I need to do a blog tour. I have an idea for something unique. We’ll see if it works out. Meanwhile, be well and write well, my friend.

  2. jess says:

    Oh Marilyn. I’ll bet you have fun with everything you do but …
    Blog tours sound like the promotion from hell. I can’t imagine scheduling ten or fifteen blogs to post a different piece on–and then have to remind each blogger that I’m supposed to be there. Yikes!

    I’m taking a course on blog tours now. I’m waiting for someone to convince me that they’re necessary and fun. No one has–not even you–not yet.

    I love to blog too. I’m participating in the A to Z Challenge now. Blogging every day but that seems so much easier and more fun than a blog tour. I wonder why.

    Are you going to Killer Nashville this year?

  3. marilynm says:

    I love blog tours, Jess, that’s why I do them. And some of it can be a pain, but I had 5 kids…. No, won’t make it to Nashville this year.

  4. marilynm says:

    And by the way, I’m happy to be here today.

  5. Great tips, Marilyn. Thank you.

  6. Cassie Exline says:

    What a great post. You gave me a wonderful idea for a prize on my next blog tour. Just finished a tour and boy does that overload the brain. Different posts each day, keep up with comments, be witty, hope for questions and worry with answers.Return every day to previous stops for the late posts. Awwww the life of an author. Before the ebook craze, I started out doing book signings. Two places stand out in my mind. One was at a historical fort with other authors (no indoor plumbing, we had to use an outhouse) and the other was a grain elevator right next to the fertilizer. A smell I will never forget. But you’re right, you must engage with the people and talk. Above all, laugh. I also bring cookies.

  7. marilynm says:

    One bookstore where I brought cookies, they firmly told me “No food.”
    From then on I brought wrapped hard candy at least for awhile. Last one I had at our local, I served cake with the a replica of the cover in the frosting, and iced tea. The bookstore I go to now always has cookies, water and coffee for people who come.

  8. Sharon Moore says:

    Thanks, Marilyn. I am in the planning stages for launching two books coming out pretty close to one another from two different presses. I am pumped–and scared to death! LOL Thanks for your practical ideas and experienced perspective.

  9. marilynm says:

    Best of luck, Sharon. Just take the bull by the horns and get started with your promo!

  10. pjnunn says:

    Marilyn, it’s so wonderful to have you here! And this article is good encouragement for all authors. Thank you for sharing with us!

  11. Klaw says:

    I enjoyed your blog, your frank and honest approach to marketing, your steady approach to being a writer. Thank you.

  12. Marja McGraw says:

    Marilyn, you make it sound so easy, and yet I know how hard you work at promoting. You’ve set a goal for the rest of us — to catch up to you. : )

  13. Cindy Sample says:

    Hi Marilyn. As always, your blog schedule and book release schedule amaze me. I agree that you can sell books almost anywhere, although I’m going to stay away from grain elevators. I’ve done signings in candy stores, wineries, spas, restaurants, coffee shops, dance studios, art galleries, apple orchards, fairs. The list can be endless if you’re creative. And you most certainly are. Keep those great books coming!

  14. I’ve done one official blog tour a number of years ago, and while it was fun to meet new people, I found the work to organize it beyond what I was able to do. I am always amazed at how many you do, Marilyn, and how you are able to promote the tour and still find time to write. Not to mention the time you spend with family. Do you ever sleep. LOL

    More recently, I have done what I call informal blog tours. I find a site that is open to guest posts, and I do one.

  15. […] Promotion That Has Worked for Me by Marilyn Meredith aka F. M. Meredith ( […]

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