WANTED: A Marketing Department

I think most writers would love it if signing a publishing contract meant the publisher’s marketing department would get the reviews, promote the book through advertising, set up interviews (TV, radio, and print), and arrange a book tour (at least a blog tour). And some writers do get all or some of that, especially those writers whose books are being published by the Big Five and whose books are appearing on the top ten spots of bestseller lists, or those writers who have received humongous advances due to their notoriety.

But, alas, most of us don’t get that support, even those published by the Big Five. Most writers nowadays must either pay someone to do the marketing or do it themselves. Over and over I hear writers lamenting the time they spend marketing their books rather than writing. I’m one of those writers. What’s worse is most writers are not marketing experts, don’t even like doing the marketing. I know it’s never been something I’ve wanted to do.

There are a variety of ways one can market his or her book, but there always seems to be a learning curve connected. Should I do a Facebook ad? What type of FB ad works best? How do I go about creating one of those ads? How much money paid brings the most return? For me this process goes on and on until I discover I’ve spent hours and hours on an ad that someone familiar with the process could have created in a short time.

I need a marketing department, but how do I go about getting one? And, what exactly do I want? A publicist? That would help, but I need more than that. A web designer? Yes, my website needs work, but I also need more than that. I need those reviews. Who do I hire for that? I need to be more active on social media. How do I maximize the time I spend on social media? Who can teach me or create the posts that will catch the attention of others?

My list goes on and on, and then there’s the question of cost? My dad always said, “It takes money to make money,” but how much is enough and when is it too much?

So many questions, and right now I don’t have any answers. What I want is that marketing department.

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22 Responses to WANTED: A Marketing Department

  1. Vicki Batman says:

    I know what you mean. I’ve hired firms. I’ve done ads. I blog. On and on and on. I would like positive word of mouth advertising. Sigh.

  2. Maris,

    I’m faced with the same problem. I’ve been with a number of publishers. These days, there’s no investment from these small publishers. It’s difficult to know how to best market our work so that readers know we exist.

  3. I think we all feel that way Maris.
    Good luck and God’s blessings

  4. I’m with you 100%! I’ve tried FB ads. AMS ads, I’ve gotten my social media down to once a week when I upload and schedule everything for the week, but I’ve still got to create all those images and think of what to post. I blog every week too. I know that, at least for the ads, someone else would be able to do a much better job than me. I just can’t find someone like that who doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

    • Maris Soule says:

      You’re not giving me much encouragement, Meredith. I was hoping I could find one person (for a reasonable price, of course) and my problems would be solved. Sigh.

  5. I would SO like to hire a virtual assistant to help with all the tasks I can’t do myself or don’t want to learn. But it costs money and most likely would take all my profits. I’ve used publicists before. They’re expensive and I did not have worthy results. Hiring a VA is a better choice for me.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Nancy, although I’m sorry to hear your experience with a publicist did not produce worthwhile results, I had the same experience. That’s why I need someone who knows how to do certain tasks and can teach me or someone who can take over the mundane.

  6. Sue Myers says:

    Maris, I agree with everything you’ve said. Even though there are so many more ways to promote our books, the preparation takes time, not to mention the learning curve. Signings and book events are fun, but they all take preparation and time away from writing. You’re right, we need a marketing department! Sue

    • Maris Soule says:

      As you said, Sue, it’s the learning curve. Also, I’ve discovered, even though I learn how to do something once, if I don’t do it for months or years after that, I have to learn all over again. Frustrating.

  7. Jan Springer says:

    Would love my own marketing dept too. 🙂
    Lovely article. Thanks!

  8. Janet Lane says:

    Maris, you *nailed* it! It’s not just the initial learning curve–it needs to be repeated and repeated until a level of proficiency and comfort is reached.

  9. Carole Price says:

    I agree with all of the comments. Sorry I don’t have the answer or money to drive the issue.

  10. Maris Soule says:

    Rohn, whose email is that? Whose phone number? Where would either take me? I don’t understand.

  11. I love marketing problems! On my spare time, I’m working on an affordable, marketing DIY course and trying to work on a reader-facing magazine or easy to navigate website. It’s a huge help hearing from you all on what you feel you are missing. If I get something for you to test, I’ll let you know, Maris. Feel free to continue opining.