GUEST POST with Kathryn Jones: “Cheap-skate Marketing for the Self-Published Writer”

Folks might consider me a cheap-skate. Heck, I use coupons, pay cash for almost everything, and frequently peruse the dollar store for inexpensive gifts. When it comes to marketing as a self-published writer? Well, I’ve just got to save a few bucks.

Used to be I didn’t want people to know where I shopped (thrift stores) or how I got so many freebies in the mail (I just signed up online) but there came a day that I didn’t even care if my neighbors knew how I was furnishing my home (from garage sales and furniture sales).

It didn’t matter because I was getting a lot more for less and having some fun doing it.

Saving money takes skill, but it also takes having the knowledge of where to look in the first place. Allow me to get you started. If you’ve just finished your self-published book, or you are almost finished (many writers begin marketing at least six months before their book is in print) then you’ll want to listen up to the next few tips.

  1. Get some postcards made up with your book cover on one side and a synopsis and your contact information on the other. Even before your book comes out in print you should be talking about it and doling out the cards. I keep a stack in my purse and hand them to people I meet (instead of the standard business card). I leave postcards at restaurants. Hand them over when I’m at a social networking group. Give them out whenever someone asks about my book. Postcards really help, especially if you’re of the shy nature. (I’m not, but many writers are. Postcards are pretty cheap, too).
  2. Get some online reviews. Yes, this takes effort, but it shouldn’t cost you. If an online reviewer asks you for money, don’t accept the trade. There are plenty of reviewers that will do it for free, and others that will do it for free if you send them a copy of your book (or gift them an Amazon e-copy). Reviews are not only posted on the reviewer’s site, but often, they distribute the review to sites like Barnes & Noble and
  3. Get some courage. Okay, you may feel like you’re a pretty good writer, but a speaker? Yes, speaking at a writers group, or a book group, or at a conference takes guts (and they may not even pay you) but this is a fine opportunity to hone your skills as a speaker and to talk about and sell your book. Don’t let this opportunity fly by you because you’re scared.
  4. Get some blogs written. Like this one. Not everyone is going to say yes to your idea, but many blog owners will, and this gives you another chance to share something about what you know and get the word out there that you’re a writer. (All of the blogs I’ve written for have allowed me to put a bio in at the end of my article).
  5. Get some interviews. Most of those I’ve gotten so far are blog interviews. What happens is you answer some questions that the blog owner has and send your answers back along with your photo and book cover. That’s it. They post your interview online. Don’t forget to try radio interviews. I have two set up for the next two months. All this takes is a short note to the blog owner telling him/her about your book. If he/she decides to interview you, you may be sent a list of questions that he/she will be asking beforehand. On the specified day, you call in and the radio blogger interviews you either live or through a recording that is edited and placed on his/her site later.
  6. Get some contests happening. People LOVE contests! And many blog owners offer contests to get the word out about your book. Sure, you’ll need to send the winner your book, but what better way to get someone talking about your book from across the country?
  7. Get some people reading the first chapter of your book. Some sites offer placement of all or part of your first chapter with links to purchase the book. Take advantage of this opportunity to promote your book for free!
  8. Give away an e-copy on Amazon. Map out some specific days you’d like to give away your book for free. I’ve already offered two different days for people to get my book free. The first giveaway was just after my book’s release. The second giveaway I used tax day. We all hate tax day, so why not offer something soothing to read?

When it comes to marketing, you really don’t need to spend a royal mint to get people interested in your book. All you really need is a bit of creativity and some never-ending perseverance, yes, even when you’re shaking in your boots.

Kathryn has been a published writer since 1987.  She has published various newspaper stories, magazine articles, essays and short stories for teens and adults.  She is the author of: “A River of Stones,” a young adult fiction novel dealing with divorce published in 2002, and “Conquering your Goliaths—A Parable of the Five Stones,” a Christian novel published in January of 2012. Her newest creation, a “Conquering your Goliaths—Guidebook,” was published in February of 2012.

Kathryn graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in Mass Communication and a minor in Creative Writing. Her studies included work in creative writing, public relations and journalism. Recently, she has opened the doors to Idea Creations Press, a publishing services company that caters to writers and their writing, publishing and marketing needs.

For more information, visit A River of Stones.