Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Imitate Success

"Imitation if the highest form of flattery."
We've all heard this before and hopefully, you've applied it to your writing. Some of the best writing advice I've heard is to read books that you love and study them to find out why they work. We look for commonalities in character arc, plot lines, & world building. Then, we imitate these successes in our own work.*

*Of course, by imitate I mean incorporate into your own style. We'd never want to become another version of a writer already out there. The world already has that writer.

The lesson we don't hear as often is that we can apply this same technique to our marketing efforts.

We can learn a lot by studying the efforts of successful authors that have come before us. What did they do during launch week? What was their social media presence like in the month before their book came out? How much of their blog content changed to promote their new book?

If you're working on a marketing plan, I suggest studying some of your favorite writers. Do a little historical stalking to analyze what their blog, social media and promotional content looked like in the months leading up to and right after their book launch.

Just like reading bad books can teach us what doesn't work in our writing, studying authors with a launch flop can provide some great marketing lessons. Find an author or two writing in your genre with releases that never really got out of the starting gate. Study what they did (or probably didn't do) and take this into account when planning your own release. 

Marketing isn't a one size fits all strategy. But by studying authors with an audience similar to your own, you can get a better look at what does and doesn't work when it comes to getting your work into the hands of your readers.


  1. Good advice as always, Sarah. Thank you.

  2. I agree with you, but it's odd ... I still see people putting out book trailers and doing expensive Kindle giveaways, but every bit of marketing info I've read (and my agent's opinion) says that those things have no effect on sales. Well, I can't control what others do. I can only do the best I can with what I have. :-)

    1. Good point. I completely agree with you (and your agent) that trailers and high ticket giveaways aren't effective. I think these are the things most folks talk about because they are flashy and everyone can easily understand them. It usually takes a lot more digging to see what authors have really done to be successful. People don't write many posts about spending hours writing press releases. ;)

  3. The only hard part is determining what efforts equate to sales. I'm still trying to figure that one out as I stalk other authors. ;)

    1. I wish there was a magic formula. And it's not always easy to tie marketing to sales. Sometimes it's about planting as many seeds as possible. There is what's known as the marketing rule of 7. The idea is that it takes, on average, seven impressions before someone makes a purchase decision. That means a lot of marketing is building on those impressions without an actual sale to tally.


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