Monday, July 11, 2011

Self-Published Author Randy Mitchell Shares Personal Experiences With Book Marketing

I'm lucky to work with amazing clients and have returned to my roots of book marketing/publicity in the past few months. I worked for an independent publisher in northern California, and also worked for Barnes & Noble and promoted authors and planned in-store book signings and events.

Instead of rambling on and on about why self-published authors need to market, I went straight to my self-publishing sources -- my clients, Randy Mitchell and Susan Malone. 

I asked inspirational writer Randy Mitchell his insight into book marketing. Randy recently self-published and launched his social media marketing campaign for his first inspirational novel, Sons In the Clouds.

I also picked Susan Malone's brain. Susan is a long-time developmental book editor and owns Malone Editorial Services.  Susan offers in-depth developmental book editing for fiction and nonfiction writers and publishers. Her clients' books (35 books and counting!) have been sold to traditional publishers. 

Susan, why do you think self-published authors are fearful of marketing their books? It seems authors lose momentum after they write and self-publish their books. As a result, their marketing falls to the wayside -- why do you think this happens? 

Susan: The biggest problem for authors in promoting is two-fold. One, the creative part of the writing brain is so different from the business one. For the most part, authors are just terrified to promote because they have no clue how to (and would so prefer not to have to learn!) Promotion feels like having to learn an entirely new skill set, in an area many truly hate.  

The other part is writers truly often HATE to toot their own horns. Although they may in secret believe their books to be the best in the world, they want OTHER folks to say that, not them. And promotion is all about telling the world how great a book is. Add those two things together, and most writers run for the hills!  

I then talked with Randy about his self-publishing journey. I'm really proud of Randy as his inspirational fiction novel, Sons In the Clouds, was nominated for a Global E-book award for Best Visionary/Inspirational fiction.

He's done a fantastic job of marketing his book, and has created a dynamic online presence in just a few months! Randy is proof that,with hard work and professional marketing guidance, it's possible to achieve book marketign success. 

Randy, what "in-the-trenches" advice would you give to self-published authors?

Randy: First, try to get traditionally published. That is the gold standard by which most writers are still judged. Although, my how times are a changin' with e-book capabilities! If one cannot get an agent or publisher to bite, then dive in and get your work out there.

What have you learned about book marketing in the past few months? What helpful tips do you want to pass along to self-published authors who are hesitant to market their books? 


When you self-publish you are on your own. But having a terrific editor is a must, as well as having a marketing professional (such as yourself)  to help you. I can understand why authors would be anxious about diving in, but sometimes I think writing a book is only half the battle, and like it or not, it's a business.

If a writer quits after being rejected by the traditional houses, he'll fade into the landscape. Self-publishing gives you a fighting chance, and recently more and more published authors are going ahead and just ditching the old ways because of better royalties and more control over their work.

Social media is wonderful, and I've quickly learned it's nothing to fear. Hire a marketing professional to be your coach (worth every penny) because they command a specific knowledge most people don't have -- the ins and outs of how to get the most from your efforts.

A great success story is Amanda Hocking. She tried and tried to get published and failed. She placed her books on Amazon and now, not only does she sell millions of self-published novels, but she has a million dollar contract with a traditional house. 

My best advice? Just do it! And keep your eye on the ball. The biggest challenge I've experienced? Finding the time to keep up because as you keep going, the workload increases. 

Like you said early on, sticking with your marketing is THE key. Never stop, even if you don't see results for awhile. Then one day, something happens (like my Global E-book nomination) or an agent comes calling,

Great tips and advice, Randy and Susan! 

Stay tuned - I will offer more helpful marketing tips for self-published authors in the upcoming weeks!









  1. Nicely done, Therese! You really help folks make sense out of social media marketing. Thank you!

  2. Interesting article. I'll have to keep this approach in mind. I would have thought commercial print was the best approach. Is this a viable market any longer since the digital age seems to expose more opportunities?

    Hi Susan, I'll be back in Dallas next year. We can go the the library and chat.


  3. Thanks Susan! I appreciate your insight and feedback and for taking the time to answer my questions.

  4. Hi Jon, Thanks for your comments. There are self-published authors who go both routes and sell an ebook format as well. However, with the popularity of the Kindle and ereaders, ebooks are hot. Not to mention, self-published authors go with ebook route as it's more cost-effective (expense, etc.) Also, ebooks aren't as expensive and it's far more convenient to read an ebook on your iPad, iPhone or Kindle as opposed to lugging around a book. I don't think the printed book will ever go to the wayside, but ebooks definitely are front and center!


Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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