Sell Yourself—Sell Your Book

Writing may be the easiest part, many say. And marketing the hardest. Don’t let that part overwhelm you. Marketing is simply letting others know about your book—through as many avenues as possible. Larger conferences usually offer more than a one-day meeting—smaller venues may not offer as much. These tips are focused on what you can do while at a conference. Much more detail developing and implementing your overall plan are in my ebook, Market Yourself, Market Your Book (

1. First focus on the professional image you want to create for yourself and your work? We all project a certain persona—intentionally or inadvertently—of ourselves and our books. What we do speaks for itself— genre we write, cover on our books, website/blog, social media comments, author name we use, and how we answer the question, “What do you write?” Even the way we dress makes a statement.

2. “Open Mike” time is often offered. You briefly tell about your book (and places for purchase). Then read a selected portion that captures the interest of the audience and gives the flavor of the book. Speakers are remembered.

3. Register to place your book in the conference bookstore. Attractively display your books and have your business card and maybe flyers available. I find it easier to price my books in round numbers—making change easier. Offer to sign books for purchasers.

4. Offer a “sign-up-sheet” for people to leave their name and email address if they would like information on upcoming books, your speaking engagements and so forth. This is a great way to build your mailing/marketing list.

5. Always take a copy of your (first or latest) book to the conference. Don’t overdo it but, if you have a finished book, a copy helps reinforce your “elevator pitch” to other writers.

6.  Conferences offer great opportunities to market both yourself and your books. After you have a published book, send session proposals to become a panel member or workshop leader. If you are a beginning writer, take special note of speakers and what they do or don’t do. Approach conference leaders early as schedules are planned months in advance.

Fiction writers: Don’t just “tell” about your book and read excerpts. The audience will want to know more—any difficulties you encountered, how you named/developed characters, your writing schedule, experience querying publishers/editors, editing process after acceptance, and how to understand an author contract. Focus on those that apply.

Nonfiction writers: The advice for fiction writers is much the same. However, nonfiction books/articles require extended and detailed research. Your credentials are important. The audience will also want more—your passion for the subject and any personal connections you may have to the story. Share interesting interviews, difficulties in tracking a person or event, helpful tips that you’ve learned. PowerPoint may be used to show photos related to your subject.

All proposals: Create a “catchy” title with brief blurb about the proposed session. Larger conferences will have a form for you to give information. Don’t overlook smaller venues where you might just email the librarian or workshop leader.

My ebook, Market Yourself, Market Your Book (  gives many more detailed steps in a workbook style that makes all this easy and doable for you.

Click a title for more tips on Making the Most of Writers' Conferences:
Part 1: Select the Conference Best Suited to You
Part 2: Spend Less Money at Conferences – and Still Have Fun!
Part 3: Maximize Face-Time with other writers/agents/publishers
Part 4: Create a Winning “Elevator Pitch” to Agents/Publishers


Marilyn H. Collins—author, workshop leader, publisher, writing coach, editorial services Contact:
Copyright © CHS Publishing, Marilyn H. Collins, 2017.