9 Tips Learned in Marketing Workshop

As I draw nearer the point at which I hope to have my manuscript in the hands of editors and beta readers, the more nervous I get about various topics: publishing, marketing, sales, book reviews, and the list goes on.

A few weeks ago, to stem the tide of nervousness, I attended a two-hour marketing workshop presented by PDX Writers, a local organization committed to helping writers do their best. The guest speaker was John Sibley Williams, a local writer and literary agent, with years of experience in both areas.

Did it help?

Well, the most important thing I learned is that two hours is too little time to cover all you need to know about marketing and selling your book.

I left the workshop feeling overwhelmed, underequipped, bombarded, discouraged, ready to toss my draft manuscript in the circular file and never look back. Did I mention I also had a headache?

I am not blaming PDX Writers or Mr. Williams for my emotional response to their presentation. It is obvious the hands on the clock moved too quickly.

Despite my spewing above, I did come away with some helpful tips and handouts, not to mention good contacts made:

  • Have a good business plan and strategy;
  • Prepare a budget and maintain a budgetary spreadsheet;
  • Create realistic marketing and branding strategy;
  • Consider methods for earning direct income;
  • Have active presence on social media, including your blog and/or website;
  • Develop local network with libraries and bookstores
  • Gain exposure by a variety of methods (that's another post!);
  • Think of and incorporate means of saving money;
  • Learn all you can about query letters, self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, agents, editors, press releases, etc.

Like I said, a large amount of material was attempted in this workshop.

However, I now have a conceptual view of what life will be like depending on a number of decisions I need to make about my book in coming weeks and/or months.

If you have published a book, what one thing would you recommend a writer to make his/her priority as they reach the point of finalizing a manuscript? What one thing would you do differently? Please help out by adding your comments below.