Posted by: Nancy Keim Comley | November 1, 2011

Zombie Cupcakes: The Art of Marketing on a Budget

All of us want to be memorable, writers possibly most of all. We want to write books that people will talk about and enjoy for years. In the twelth century, Geoffrey of Monmouth told us about characters called Merlin and Arthur. Chrétien de Troyes expanded on this with his romances and later Sir Thomas Malory later took the story of Merlin and Arthur gave us LE MORT D’ARTHUR, one of the most memorable books ever written. Centuries later these books and and their authors are still remembered.

Today authors do most of their marketing themselves. Skype, email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. are now deployed to support that (hopefully) memorable book. Using social media in book promotion is a worthy blog post but not one I’m going to write today.

Yesterday was Halloween so I’m going to write about the related subjects of chocolate and zombie cupcakes.

Book signings are a way for authors to meet their readers, talk with them and, hopefully, get them to buy a few books. One of the masters of working a crowd is Jonathan Maberry. One of his tools? Chocolate.

Setting up a book signing is a basic task. A chair for the author, a table on which to display books and a few goodies. For years in Jonathan’s case, those goodies included a bowl of small, good chocolates with new over wrappers that held the book’s front cover, complete with title and author name, and the ISBN number. The wrappers were easy to run off on a computer and an evening with scissors, tape and a DVD and the bowl was filled. Someone might not buy the book then but few people turn down free chocolate and if they ever wanted to remember the books title, they had a wrapper in their pocket to remind them.

Last night Jonathan released his new book, DEAD OF NIGHT, and his signing table contained zombie cupcakes. Yesterday afternoon before the event, Jonathan’s wife, Sara West, fellow writer Tiffany Schmidt and I gathered together and decorated upwards of fifty cup cakes with gummy brains, gummy teeth, barbie hands, chocolate wafer grave stones and some very disconcerting fondant icing that contained red food coloring. It was a hoot and a great way for Jonathan to promote his book. Want a cup cake? Buy a book.

(Tiffany Schmidt’s book, SEND ME A SIGN, will be released fall of 2012 and we’re already designing the cup cakes).

Step one to becoming an author? Write that memorable book. After that, there are many ways an author can promote their book and as far as I’m concerned, chocolate and zombie cup cakes are two great ways.


  1. Thanks for your lovely cupcakes – art in the making! My son Josh enjoyed one immensely – was hard for him to pick which one! Love this post on marketing on a budget as I need some tips on this.


  2. This is too cute. Great post. =D

    S.M. Boyce
    Author of The Grimoire: Lichgates
    “From the moment you read these pages, you will be hunted. You have been warned.”


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