Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 1, 2015

Finding Your Feet in the Marketing World

As J. Thomas Ross mentioned a few weeks ago, my debut novel came out recently. I am now in the position of having to market the book—a position that is not easy for me. I am a serious introvert, and the whole idea of “selling” myself or my book scares me silly.

I worked retail for a long time, but I was the salesperson who waited for someone to approach her with a question rather than pouncing on the customers as they came in. Thank goodness my retail jobs were not based on commission!

So you see, I have always been a fly-on-the-wall person. In fact, I have often joked that my superpower is invisibility—great for people-watching, not great for marketing.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I did not have the time to plan a meticulous, day-by-day roll out strategy for my marketing. As an anxiety-ridden control freak, that would have been my preference. But now I am forced to wing it and test things out in real time.

That’s not entirely bad. I need to learn flexibility, and I need to be able to adapt to marketing opportunities and setbacks as they arise. And in a way, the fact that I am not following a script is freeing—if an effort fails, I don’t feel like I failed as a planner. I can roll with the flow and shrug off the bumps in the road.

So I am taking my time finding my marketing feet. I got my toes wet at the NJ Association of School Librarians conference a few weeks ago. I enjoyed myself and learned a lot from friend and table-mate Donna Galanti. Donna is not only a wonderful writer but a powerhouse marketer, with a sparkling personality and shrewd business acumen. She is also very generous. She drew people to her half of the table, and when she was finished she would turn and toss them over to me with an introduction. I quite often fumbled the ball, but it’s all a learning process.

The next step is to contact book bloggers and reviewers to get some coverage of the book. I have my list and will start contacting people this week—5 a day is my goal. We will see what comes of that.

I also want to set up an official launch party, but I believe that will wait until after the holiday insanity is over. The holidays, with their constant social demands, are hard enough on this introvert already—I know my limits.

So I am slowly finding my marketing feet. One thing at a time. It is perhaps not ideal, but it is what I need to do, given time and emotional constraints. One thing is for certain, I am learning a lot from every effort, and I will be able to use that knowledge in future book launches and to refine the marketing for THE WITCH OF ZAL.

So how about you? Were (are) you overwhelmed when it came to book marketing? Any tips to share with the rest of us?


  1. I can relate! Reminds me of Bones in Star Trek (I’m a doctor, dammit, not a [fill-in-the-blank!] because I’m a writer, dammit, not a marketer. Yet, the reality is that’s exactly what we have to be. I got my feet wet by accepting an offer to speak at a small local book club (with weeks of angsty moments trying to figure out how to gracefully get out of it!) But, I went and wonder of wonders, had a great time. I took props with me (the doll that’s on the cover of my book, a pair of geta I wore as a child in Japan, pictures from that time that I mounted on foam board and labeled on the back with a Brother P-touch, bookmarks I’d had made up with the cover of the book and the blurb and links, and of course copies of the book.) Once I started talking about the story itself, I was able to relax and forget about “me.” Since then, I’ve been invited to more and more clubs, and now I bring my storyboard with me along with the other props. People love to see “how you did it.” I wish you every success, Kerry – I’ll be pulling for you!


    • Thanks, Candace! I have a feeling once I start talking to the people I’ll be okay–it’s the pre-meeting anxiety that will get me every time!

      Liked by 1 person

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