Top Five Promotional Tips from MARCON

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Photo courtesy of Jennifer Fusco

In October, Rhonda and I headed out to White Plains for MARCON 2013–a one day extravaganza dedicated to marketing and promotion for authors. Worth every second and every cent spent.

I walked away with a week’s worth of work to do.

Thanks Jen, Sara, and Melanie!

1) Public speaking is all about engaging your audience. Make eye contact and complete a thought before your gaze shifts.  Don’t read from paper and don’t dance around.  

Courtesy of Sara Humphrey’s brilliant workshop–she revolutionized public speaking and appearances for me and gave me the courage to speak without notes.

2) Know your target audience and build your marketing plan around them.

Courtesy of Jennifer Fusco–she taught me how to craft  a brand statement and a marketing plan.

3) Make sure your blog tour is a balance of writer blogs, reader blogs, book review blogs, and any niche area of interest that fits your book. You want to get in front of as many potential readers as you can.

Courtesy of Melanie Meadors–she knows how to plan a blog tour to end all blog tours.

4) Metadata matters. Make sure the keywords for your website tie in to your book and you.

Jennifer Fusco is an expert at leveraging every form of media out there.

5) Marketing is about building relationships with your readers. Invest in them and they will invest in you.

Jennifer Fusco’s no-nonsense approach to marketing has shaped my indie career.

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20 Responses to Top Five Promotional Tips from MARCON

  1. I think #5 is so important, especially nowadays with the explosion of self-publishing, and I think you’ve really done well with it. You’re a really gracious author, you always remember those who have helped you along the way, those you’ve connected with. There’s plenty of give on your part, not just take. And you’re not obnoxious about buy my book! buy my book! Thanks for another informative post.

    • I agree. I never ever go for the hard sell. Even at book signings, I offer bookmarks and freebies and I mention books are available to be signed, but I don’t ever ask anyone to buy the book. Aw thank you. I try to be actively grateful for all the good that’s happened and recognize all the experts who’ve helped me along the way. I like giving credit where it’s due. 🙂

  2. Sounds like it was well worth your time. Good advice – many don’t think of targeting as many areas of interests as possible for blog tours. Often it’s about being int he right place at the right time. Nice advice here

  3. Since I don’t enjoy being the center of attention, I’m not the best at public speaking, but I am able to refrain from dancing around. 🙂

    • Jill, I hate everyone looking at me. Always have. But when I decided to be an indie author, I knew I’d have to do things outside my comfort zone and I’d have to do them well. A great talk/ presentation definitely gets people fired up about the book. I started out reading from my paper and dancing around and doing everything wrong. But that’s because I had a really bad experience where I stood still and all my stress went to my voice. It was epically awful. But I’ve learned to move with purpose and to use my hand gestures to throw off some of that nervous energy. And I drill my talks so I can talk from memory.

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    “don’t dance around”–I used to do this thing where I’d rock back and forth on my feet whenever I’d give a presentation. I think I’ve finally nipped that ridiculous tendency, but it’s interesting what we do in front of a crowd and don’t even realize it.

    • I was very into rocking. Bad bad bad. Now I pretend my feet are anchored to the floor and I feel more anchored as I speak. 😉 I still have the hands problem. They tend to fly about the first few minutes. That’s my next tic to work on. 😉 And we have no idea how weird it looks to listeners.

  5. Mae Clair says:

    I like the tip on public speaking. I go back and forth with that…sometimes I’m “on” and totally nail it and other times I feel like I’m floundering. It would be nice to set that switch to “on” all of the time! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the tips, Kourtney. Valuable indeed!

    • Sara Humphreys had lots of tips on public speaking. Definitely came in handy for my last few events. For me, it’s about practicing so I know what I’ll say inside and out. And then giving myself permission to make a mistake and keep going. 🙂 Glad to share a few highlights.

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    Public speaking is low on my list of things I enjoy doing. Well, actually it’s not on the list at all. 🙂 It’s funny that I got good reviews when I taught as a graduate student, but the thought of getting up in front of an audience has always been a painful one.

    This sounds like it was the kind of conference every writer should attend, whether the plan is to self-publish or go traditional. Thanks as always for sharing your experiences with us!

    • LOL. I’ve never met anyone who loved public speaking. Even lawyers get nervous. It’s scary. But the worst critic is usually in our own head. I found so many new readers through giving workshops and talks. I definitely would do it in the future. But if it’s something you absolutely cannot do, you just have to find other ways of connecting with readers. 🙂

      We had a mix of traditional and indie authors. Promoting is something all authors need to have in their toolbox. 🙂

  7. EllaDee says:

    Excellent that you came away from it with week’s worth of work to do. Going in with a mindset that there is always something to learn or re-learn and take away means you get benefit out of the time you spend. The points you covered are varied – good to focus on a few aspects that add value to your skills overall 🙂

    • Yeah, it was pretty cool to get so much out of one day. 🙂 They also gave us a checklist of 18 promo things to do when we left the conference. Very very helpful. These were the ones that jumped out at me as must implement now or next time. The metadata was pretty easy. My web designer already implemented it.

  8. 4amWriter says:

    Ugh. Public speaking. I think I would rather eat bugs, lol! While I bet I am getting in good practice with my creative writing classes for kids – I am not talking about myself or my book(s). That’s the part that wigs me out the most.

    • There are authors who don’t do public speaking and seem to make good livings. 🙂 I think it’s all about building a marketing plan that works for you and your book. As an indie author, I felt workshops and talks were a good way to build my audience even if it meant doing something that was outside my comfort zone and my expertise. But only if I could make it look good and be entertaining. It might be that classes are the way for you. 🙂 The first few times I had to do it, I was so scared and even now I get moths in my belly. But I definitely got better and more confident with practice.

  9. Thanks for passing on this useful advice Kourtney, which hopefully one day I’ll have cause to use!

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