Do’s and Don’ts

Every piece of writing deserves its own unique marketing strategy.  Everyone has a set plot line as to how to market your book in a way that results in sales and, most importantly, demand for additional material. The climax for both scams and legitimate schemes is the same: fame and fortune.  Advice or strategies that elevate one book could be the downfall of another. is designed to help you understand the best way to market your book, and that means knowing what advice to take and what to reject.  We’ve done our best to compile a list of do’s and don’ts that are important considerations for anyone trying to publish their work successfully, but always remember to ask yourself, “How will this help me?”


1. Write quality content.

Nothing can compete with a well-written book. Take the time necessary time to create excellent material and shun the temptation to write mediocre work for a quick, fleeting buck.  To have a successful work, you need to present and market yourself well.  But don’t let slick presentation and marketing take the place of good writing.

2. Take book marketing into your own hands.

Do not place your manuscript into the hands of a publisher, receive your check and walk away. Make sure that you know how you can effectively contribute to the book marketing plan they will implement.

3. Utilize social media networking sites effectively.

Take advantage of the connectivity allowed via online social networking sites by making sure it is quality content that is driving people to your sites and sticking around.  Check out the social networking information available on this site.

4. Stay informed of new technology that affects the publishing world (e.g. iPad, Kindle, pay-what-you-want distribution).

The world of publishing is changing and you will only increase your effectiveness if you are aware of the changes. Do not allow yourself to become outdated with what’s out there in regards to new technology for print media, especially since technology changes much more than just how people read.  For more information, check out these articles:

For the Indie Writers of Amazon, It’s Publish or Perish — January 4, 2015

The Everything Book: Reading in the Age of Amazon — December 17, 2014

Pay-what-you-want ebooks ‘bundle’ makes $1.1 m in two weeks — October 23, 2012

5. Create an author’s business plan.

Those of a more creative bent tend to overlook the idea of a business plan. Take time to consider how what you are writing fits into the long-term income and vision that you have for your career.  Books will not sell themselves.

6. If you’re resubmitting your work, retitle it.

Each time you make revisions to a work for a resubmission to a journal, be sure to retitle your work.

7. Read literary journals.

Submitting your work to journals is an important part of the publishing process, so find multiple journals that you like.  The more you read any given journal, the more you’ll know if it’s the right journal for your book.  Check out our Resources page for more information.

8. Practice good typography.

Do you think Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment would have had the same impact were it printed in Comic Sans?  The typeface of your work will most likely be dictated by the journal you submit to, but if you have the choice, make sure you find the typeface that works best for your writing.  A bad typeface can distract from your content, while a good typeface can improve the reading experience.  Check out Butterick’s Practical Typography guide for an in-depth primer to good typographic practices.

9. Keep a portfolio.

Keep everything that you write, and organize it in a way that’s easy for you to find what you’re looking for.  You can keep an online or offline portfolio, or both.  Keep your published and unpublished work, your finished and unfinished work, and whatever journals you keep. Also, keep any tear sheets of your work.

10. Save money for editing.

You can barter services with another author, or find a critique group on line and see if you can edit each other’s work.  But most writers will benefit from a professional paid editor. You can find a list of recommended editors here:


1. Rely solely on publishers for all of your book marketing practices.

Consider going the self-publishing route for greater control of the marketing of your book. If you decide to go with an established publisher, let it be known that you desire a say in the book marketing plan.

2. Inflate your followers on social networking sites.

Yes, we all know of celebrities who have over one million followers on Twitter but an author needs more than a pretty face to generate sales. Make sure that you are connecting with people on social media sites that are potential readers, not faceless followers.

3. Skip over cover design.

An effective cover is an excellent tool in creating buzz for your book. Find a creative designer who will help you create a cover that pops in the eyes of a reader. How many times have you picked up a book simply because the cover was interesting? How often have you overlooked a book because the cover failed to impress?  One should never judge a book by its cover, but a good cover goes a long way.

4. Assume your book will sell.

Authors cannot be passive in their book marketing strategy. Do not wait until after your work is finished to think about how you will sell your book. Throughout the writing process be jotting down thoughts and ideas that will eventually help create your marketing plan.

5. Rely on cheesy viral marketing plans.

This once again comes back to the idea of quality. If you have a publisher who insists on viral marketing to market your book, aim for videos that do not discredit the value of what you have written. Avoid gimmicks and focus on creativity, humor, emotion and interesting confrontation to generate buzz.

6. Give up after a rejection.

Rejection sucks, but don’t give up on your work.  Just because your work wasn’t accepted by your favorite journal doesn’t mean another won’t take it.  It may take you 20, 30, 40, 50, or 100 rejections before your work is accepted.  The point is, don’t ever stop submitting.

7. Do it for the money.

It’s not about the money, it’s about telling a story that might connect with someone.