Marketing 101

Marketing-ave-and-Strategy-Street-300x215Heather Harper I Borderline Press I June 2, 2016

If a person were to ask you to define marketing, could you do it? Chances are, your answer would have something to do with commercials and advertising. Marketing is not simply advertising; promotion is only one of the four P’s of marketing. Product, pricing, promotion, and place make up what is known as the “marketing mix.” Understanding how marketing works is vital to your ability to make money from your .

Let’s say you have a book you wrote that you want to have published. You know your story is great and it will be popular once it’s out there, but where to begin? Think about the marketing mix. Your product is the book.

Now you need to think about price, which is going to depend on how you publish your work. Self-publishing a series of hardbound volumes may sound like a great idea at first, but you may come to discover that the overhead would make it cost-prohibitive. Luckily for you, there are plenty of ways to publish, but remember: whether you are able to pitch your book and get it published by Harper-Collins or simply use Amazon to self-publish a free e-book, how much you charge for your product is dependent on how much you invest up front.

Place is implicitly involved in publication because the way you choose to publish will determine the way the reader can access your book. Again, price may be a factor in your publication choice, so you may not get to choose the delivery option you would prefer, but the idea is to get your work out there so you can be discovered. This leads us to promotion.

If you have a book you want published by a large firm, but you are new to the game, how do you get the attention you desire? One thing you might try is sending in an excerpt of your work to magazines to get a sample of your writing published by a company with veracity. Not only does this look good on a resume, but it also adds to your own credibility as a professional writer.

Another way to promote yourself is to create a website people where can learn more about you as a writer and your story. The more you give, the more you get; that’s my credo. What do I mean by that? Put some elbow grease into it. You can start a blog relevant to your purpose as a way to promote your work, or share images on Instagram to inform people about what you have to offer. Here are a couple of hints for using social media to promote yourself:

Keep your posting consistent.Take advantage of the calendaring programs available on social media which allow you to post even when you are too busy to keep up. Seeing too many things from the same person or company at once, then seeing nothing for weeks afterward is off-putting. 1-5 posts per week, spaced out, is a good target number for those wanting to stay in people’s minds but not wanting to appear to be annoying. However, if you’re a blogger, you’ll probably go well over this number just out of pure self-motivation.

Don’t over-engage in discussing the product you want to sell. This is a no-brainer. If your book is a romantic saga, don’t give away the ending or climactic points in your blog while discussing the protagonist’s character flaws. As the old adage goes, “Who wants to buy the cow when you get the milk free?”

Fair Use is a real thing. When you put something on the internet, it becomes fair game. This gets into the legal technicalities of intellectual property (IP), which is a whole field of its own. Copyright law protects IP as soon as it is recorded as a creation, whether it is a writing, music recording, spoken word, drawing, etc. This is where the offense of plagiarism comes in. However, if you put an idea on the internet, or teach a class about something, people can use your ideas if they change them enough that so it is not identical. In many cases, the original source doesn’t even have to be cited to. Just look at all of the movie parodies in old episodes of The Simpsons, and you’ll find a load of copyright quasi-infringement that was never pursued because of the concept of fair use.

Maya Reynolds, a writer, states on her site:

Writers are familiar with the U.S. Copyright law’s Fair Use test. The test has four factors which determine whether the use of another artist’s work qualifies as fair use. Those four factors are:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantial portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Under the second factor above, if the artist creating a derivative work ‘transforms’ the original work into something new and different, he has a better chance of winning a fair use case.


So the lesson is, if you don’t want someone to copy your ideas, you’d better keep them under wraps until you’re ready to expose yourself to the idea of fair use.

This will be my last posting for this blog series. I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in assisting me with Author’s Nest Express Yourself! blog. If you have any questions or comments regarding my articles, feel free to contact me through the Author’s Nest website.

Thanks for reading, and happy writing!


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