Bret's Foolproof Guide to Self-Marketing

This week is all about marketing. “What,” you ask, “can Bret – the unpublished, unagented writer contribute to the topic?”

Plenty. Thank you very much.

See, the moment you imagine seeing you books in an honest-to-God bookstore, you have to start marketing yourself. The first people who buy the book come along much, much earlier than the 16 year-old pulling out her wallet at B&N. There’s agents, editors, acquisition boards, marketing, book sellers, reviewers, possible blurbs, bloggers, etc. The take away: marketing extends far beyond swag and signings.

“But, but, Bret,” you mumble, shaking in your lucky writing slippers, “I don’t know the first thing about marketing myself.”

That’s where I come to help. Here’s a few time tested tips to snagging that agent, editor, or blurb.

  • Stalk. These “industry gatekeepers” get bombarded with traditional queries, submissions, requests for favors, etc. Do everything you can to find out about them personally to make sure you have something in common and set yourself apart. If at all possible, find their home address. You’ll learn a lot from scouting trashcans and with a good set of binoculars. Once you know enough, it’s time to act. Knock on the front door and get ready for the pitch of your life.
  • Don’t worry about the quality of writing.  In this game, it’s only about who you know. Who cares that my manuscript is garbage if you can assure a NYT Bestselling author will give me a recommendation or brilliant blurb (looking at you, Veronica)? No one. That’s who.
  • Get them alone. Find out what conference or event your dream agent/editor/blurber will be at and then watch them like a starving hawk (see the ‘stalking’ bullet point) until they’re at the bar alone, reading their email in the lobby, or – the best—in the bathroom. This, my friends, is the prime moment for your pitch.
  • Go all fanboy/fangirl on them. Don’t forget: These people aren’t really human. They vaguely look like us, but interestingly, their species don’t need privacy and prefer talking solely about your manuscript. Though, I’ve heard of a subgenus that enjoys nothing more than watching you stare at the little creases of your thumb knuckles.
  • Never take ‘No’ for an answer. Once you get them cornered in a critique, elevator, or their front door under no circumstances should you leave until they’ve offered to at least read your book…while you watch. If they start to criticize or reject or anything other than be agreeable, interrupt and tell them why they’re wrong. Point out specifics as necessary.
With these self-marketing tips, you’re sure to be on your way to publishing success in minutes. After all, this industry moves at lightspeed. 


Finally. Someone who tells it like it is!

Let the stalking commence.

Genius, Bret! I'm going to include this in the pre-workshop material for any of my offerings. Finally, writers will feel fully equipped! :-)

I'd love a pair of lucky writing slippers. Mine would look like dragons.

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