What Marketing Is…And Isn’t

by Melissa Tagg @Melissa_Tagg

So, February is sort of a lovey-dovey month with Valentine’s Day and all, so it’s only fitting we continue talking about something I love: author marketing.

(If you just groaned at those two words, no worries. You’re normal. I’m the weird one.)

But here’s the thing, marketing doesn’t have to be a moan-inducing. It can even be, get this, fun. The key is understanding what good marketing is…and isn’t.
For the first Mondays of each month, we’re going to talk about some very practical tips for marketing your book (and you!)…even before you’re contracted. But I didn’t want to skip ahead to those ideas without first laying the ground work and making sure we’re all on the same page about what marketing really is.

Good marketing is not:

  • Beating people over the head with talk about your book 
  • Lurking on social media and blogs looking for each and every chance to link to your own site or book 
  • Using others and their connections for your own gain 

All of the above tend to have that shoe store effect. You know what I’m talking about right? It’s impossible to walk into a shoe store without feeling stalked by an employee. (Who, I realize, is only doing his/her job. No judgment here. Just observation. J)

Good marketing is:

  • Building relationships with potential readers 
  • Knowing how to tell your story 
  • Knowing how to tell your story’s story 
  • Discovering where you and your book(s) fit in 
  • Being present where your readers/audience are 

Good marketing is also genuine. It’s knowing who you are as a writer, what your stories have to offer, and letting that—not some inner Billy Mays—shine through. I believe we live in a day and age, thanks to the interwebs, when it’s easier than ever to be inauthentic…which makes authenticity that much more valuable to people. Bait and switch is old school. Sincere is in.

That probably sounds like a lot of theory, but I promise the practical application is coming up starting next month. Having a good understanding of what marketing is will help us build on the tips and ideas to come.

Bottom line: Marketing isn’t selling your book.

But selling your book is usually a sign of good marketing.


Award-winning author Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant-writer and total Iowa girl. The second book in her popular Walker Family series, Like Never Before, was named by Publisher’s Weekly to one of their spring 2016 Top Ten lists. Her most recent releases include Keep Holding On (Sept 2016) and One Enchanted Eve (Nov 2016). Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women’s retreats. Connect with Melissa at www.melissatagg.com or on Facebook and Instagram.