Friday Speak Out!: Setting Up Shop, Guest Post by Patti Larsen

Friday, September 09, 2011
Setting Up Shop

by Patti Larsen

I’ve been doing a great deal of research into marketing as my writing career takes off. I have two books coming out this month and three more in September. Whoa! Hang on, you say. Are you nuts? How can you possibly uber promote five books at once?

The answer is: I can’t. And I don’t have to. At least, in theory. From what I’ve been reading/studying/devouring, it’s time we writers started to face facts. Social media is great for connecting with other writers and maybe a few readers but that’s it. Yes, you will see a spike of sales your first month because your Mom and her best friend and all the people who love you/have a pact with you rush out to buy it. And those numbers are encouraging. Until the next month when they’ve dropped off dramatically rather than climbing like they should. Haven’t you been Tweeting your heart out? Facebooking yourself into insensibility? Goodreading, blogging, G+ing until you can’t see straight let alone focus on your next project?

But, from what I’m learning, that’s exactly what you should be doing. Rather than thrashing around trying to be noticed, you should be writing the sequel. After all, your friends and family and Twittermates all know you have a book for sale. It’s not like they can miss it (SQUEE!!) All you’re doing is pissing them off by posting about it every ten minutes.

I know, that sounds harsh. But admit it—you skim over posts from others when it gets to be too much, right? What makes you think your followers are any different? And as much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Facebook friends and Twitter peeps, most of them are writers.

Think about that. WRITERS. Not readers (yes, they read, but they are in this the same as I am, right? And as you are…) And while their support is fan-freaking-tastic, they aren’t really the one’s you’re trying to impress.

Okay, think about it this way: you have a T-shirt shop. But you only have one kind. Someone comes in, loves your shirt, wants to buy more but of different kinds. Frustrating to the customer, isn’t it? You want to stock your shelves. That way when a customer comes in, raving about the last T-shirt you can offer them a ball cap, matching toe-socks, a pair of cool jeans… and maybe another T-shirt of a different brand. And now that they know you have more stock, they will tell their friends how cool your store is, your stuff is, YOU are…. and voila, you have a viable business.

That’s why I’m focused on releasing books. Yes, I’ll blog hop and do a round with reviewers. But I’m already writing my next book. And the next one. And the one after that. Because the more product I have in my store, the more money I make.

And that’s the point, isn’t it?

* * *
Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal. She lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband Scott and four enormous cats. You can find her at,, and her work on

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Julie Anne Lindsey said...

What a great take on promotion! I loved reading this and hearing your perspective and best of all OMG I had no idea you had any books coming out let alone FIVE! Congrats!

Patti Larsen said...

Thanks for hosting me today!

Julie Anne--LOL! Thank you... guess my silent marketing plan is working...

LuAnn Schindler said...

Seems like you need to strike balance between promotion and writing your next book. I look at my Twitter feed. I have over 1000 followers. Only around 100 are writers. The rest are potential readers. Same with my Facebook account. Out of 600+ friends, only a handful are writers.
Bottom line: you STILL have to promote your book. And, you STILL need to write.

Patti Larsen said...

LuAnn--VERY true. And it's not that I'm ignoring my marketing--I'm doing what I can (blog guest posts, getting reviews, promoting) but the point is not to get mired down in the wilds of social media. Keep producing! It's very important--the most important part. Having wares to sell is just smart business.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Yes, I think balance is the key. For instance, I could say that Amanda Hocking is making a million dollars a year by promoting her self-pubbed ebooks via social media. BUT, if she didn't have 9+ ebooks for sale then she would never have made that much money. Many authors I talk to all say the same thing: to make any money at this book business you have to have a series or a bunch of books out there. And you have to keep writing. It's easy to get lost in the world of social media promotion, so this post is a good reminder. :)

Patti, I agree with your statement about authors over-plugging their books. I think most readers know right away if a book interests them. I know just by reading the synopsis if it will appeal to me or not. It's just so tough though...there is so much info in social media that we're bombarded with things to check out, things to do, see, or buy. It's both easier AND harder for authors to market themselves. I think the best bet is to make a good product, and keep on doing so. When a reader likes a book, they'll want to read everything that the author has written and share it with their friends.

Robyn Chausse said...

Love the website Patti! And, did I count 14 books?

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