Tag Archives: marketing for writers

Margaret Norton, Author of “When Ties Break” Guest Posts

Margaret NortonAuthor Margaret Norton, guest posts today to share the importance and art of MARKETING for writers.  

Leave a  comment or question TODAY to be entered in the book giveaway: a PDF copy of When Ties Break. Margaret will be answering all comments! 


Writing and Marketing a Memoir is not for Sissies 


By Margaret Norton, Author of When Ties Break,  


             Five years ago, after the deaths of eight people I knew, I started writing to deal with my pain. I shared my journal with a few friends, and their response was, “That’s good. You should write a book.” Up to then, my writing experience was limited to church newsletters, job training materials, and Christmas letters. I felt that my story was interesting as well as inspirational, and I blindly plunged into writing my first book.  

Win this Book (pdf)


            The initial manuscript was completed in about six months, but the revision process took about a year. Initially, I included everything. I dumped all my feelings onto paper. At the beginning of this journey I had one main question – why didn’t my brother and I get along? As I pondered this question, I went all the way back to childhood. The end result was a book covering over fifty years – much longer than most memoirs and in some ways more like a biography.  I found that my book, much like my life, didn’t necessarily fit into a neat, predictable package. The end product was a streamlined version of the first manuscript.  

             While writing, I collected ideas on how to promote my book. Everything I read said this would be very difficult. I read that, but I didn’t believe it. My BS is in marketing; I have sales experience and know a lot of people. This will be the fun part, I thought. Maybe not easy, but certainly something that I can do. My book, When Ties Break, was released on August 3, 2010, and these are a few of the things I’ve learned since then:  

  • Independent book stores are more approachable than the large chains.
  • Not many people attend book signings for new authors. Don’t be disappointed. Take them as an opportunity to get out and meet new people. You have to talk to people.
  • You don’t make much money at book sales, but you make connections.
  • Connect your reviews to your Amazon book page by signing up for an author page.
  • Create side businesses to help promote your book. I have a speaking and a life coach business.
  • Contact book clubs to see if they would read your book one month, and offer to come either in person, by phone, or using Skype.
  • Utilize the Internet, especially social media sites. Use them to promote events like book signings and to connect with readers and other writers.
  • Writers support other writers. Accept their help. In return, remember to help others.
  • Book blogs are an easy way to promote your book. Offer to give a free book or pdf.
  • Sign up for Google Alerts with your name & your book. See what others say about you.
  • Remember, it’s one book at a time. Initial sales will probably be low. Create a demand for your book by working hard to market it.
  • Your publisher and others may help, but the ultimate job is yours.
  • Take pictures of your events, and put them on your website or blog. Have fun. Write and blog about your experiences. It’s okay to brag.
  • Connect with & talk to your readers. They give you ideas and encouragement.


            Finally, be thankful. With the high rate of rejection, you are fortunate to be published. It is very hard work promoting your book, but it is fun and rewarding. 

Bio:  Margaret Norton has always pushed the envelope – never totally accepting the status quo. A people person, her greatest joy comes from helping others. Stopping abuse is her passion. Writing When Ties Break helped her uncover and deal with her deepest hurts. She believes that by sharing her story with others she can break the cycle of abuse – one person at a time.  As a personal life coach, Margaret founded Life Transitions to help individuals deal with change. In addition, she is a trained Stephen Minister and a Dale Carnegie Coach. This training, along with her personal life experiences, makes her a caring and compassionate coach. Her stories have appeared in A Light along the Way, The Upper Room, various local newspapers, and online. Margaret is a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, WOW! Women on Writing’s Premium Green network, Story Circle Network, The Guilford Nonprofit Consortium, the Editorial Freelance Association, the National Association of Professional Women, and The UNC-W Alumni Association. 


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Filed under Advice, books, Give Aways, Platform/Marketing

What I Learned This Week…

…in Writing, Teaching, Marketing and Life

Most of my “learns” this week were a result of some awesome tweets posted on Twitter:


As a writer or reader we need to support one another. But let’s face it, everyone’s wallet is hurting (mine is technically on long term disability leave!) But we can still provide (and ask for) support for written works. This article

breaks down 10 easy and cheap or zero-cost ways to do just that!

{Courtesy of:} @Becky_LevineRT @ShrinkngViolets: Lisa Schroeder’s blog “Supporting authors when your heart’s bigger than your wallet” — http://tinyurl.com/nj85r9

Can you believe Book Banning Week still exists in the sense that books are still under scrutiny to be banned in schools and libraries? HEllo, people, this is the 21st century!  Yes, I am a parent and yes I am concerned with the things my sons read, view, hear. However, I am raising them to be responsible, open-minded adults who can feel comfortable talking to me and my husband about anything. So, my 10-year-old is reading the Cirque DuFreak series (vampires – the gory, not sexy variety with reasonable, not gratuitous violence and petty cursing.) Guess what? I’m reading them too. Opens conversations. Remember talking to your kids?  Off my soapbox: check out the article Teen Author, Laurie Halse Anderson posted. Thoughts?

{Courtesy of:} @maureenjohnson: Please take a moment to read this awesome post by @halseanderson about challenges to her #books. http://is.gd/3zd1z


Can you give a 5-second pitch on your book? Not sure I can give a 5 second description on anything- I like to blather ; )

But, sources say, concise is key – especially when trying to grab hold of an agent/editor! Check this out

What would your 5 second pitch be?

Friend Me! Yes, your writing business needs friends – that’s how it gets popular and invited to all the cool parties. Mashable, once again, breaks it down for us: How to create a Facebook Fan page for your business. I’m totally jumping on board with this one…I’ll post the link once I’m finished with mine (next week?)

Do you have  a Facebook Fan Page for your writing/teaching/freelancing business?


My style of teaching is based on my own writing and publishing and school experiences. But, I am always flexible in my lessons, to allow for discussions. It may seem like a distraction, but those tangents turn into conversation that builds trust and opens kids up.  Let them talk and you be sure to share, too, when appropriate. In other words, kids don’t want to be preached to. They want someone or some event they can relate to. Use your own experiences and life-learned lessons to connect with them. One little way I’m doing this: I’m friending my students on Facebook. They can see the real me and my personality. I can pick up on things they’re into, too, which will help with future writing assignments.

What are you doing to build that relationship with your students?


I’ve been hearing it a lot lately: Get up an hour earlier and spend time with yourself! Well, it’s true. When I can do it, I feel unstoppable. On these days I get up before the sun, do some yoga or light workout, then have time to just free write and express my concerns, frustrations, epiphanies (yes, you can still have those!), dreams, ideas and to-do lists.

Try it! You’ll surprise yourself and that’s a pretty cool feeling!

If you still want more to read, jump over to my WriteLikeCRAZY blog today, where YA novelist Adam Dustus is guest blogging and giving away one copy of his debut novel, High School Asylum to a random young writer who posts their writing goals! Go get inspired by these wee sprites ; )

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Filed under Advice, books, Education, goals, writers, writing inspiration

What I learned this week

Double-Friday Feature!

Each week I post what I learned in writing, teaching, marketing and life! Because last week got away from me, today is Double Feature Friday!


  • Guess what? I can write in the midst of my kids! This week, pressed to get some words, any words, on the page, I took my laptop into my boys’ room and sat at Sam’s art table. While he rummaged through a Tupperware of craft beads, picking out the heart-shapes for me, I wrote a very rough draft of a guest post on teaching young writers. I also answered, with many misspellings and fragmented sentences, a 10-question interview for another author’s blog. Yes, it was frustrating having my thoughts interrupted after every other word, but I have some good raw material to revise later. So, no excuses for you mamas and papas (and that means pet-owners, too!) Go here for more tips on prioritizing your writing time.
  • Another great tip I probably mentioned before but actually used this week was the on-line egg timer. Curse you Twitter and Facebook and other realms of the internet distraction world. Now I can time my time writing: 30 minutes to craft interview questions for an author blog tour: go! 20 minutes to write a press release for my young writers summer studio: go! Try it, you’ll like it! (Mikey did!) Go here for tips on breaking bad writing habits!


  • The age group I teach creative writing to is middle grade.  Where are these young writers? Twitter, not likely. Bloggy land, maybe. Facebook, bingo!  So, I created a Facebook group to target the ages I’m trying to reach. Come on over and join the discussions! Here are instructions to create your own Facebook group. While there, become a “fan” of UpWrite Press – they give away free business-writing books!
  • Also searching for my young writer market, I came across some cool young adult and teen blogs:  BloggingYA, Blackeyedsusans and teen fiction cafe. Check them out, share the love!
  • As a writing teacher, I’m feeling pressured (from myself) to become more familiar with The Classics. So, this week, I’m reading The Sound and the Furyby William Faulker (via audiobook, which is the best invention since sliced bread!)


  • I’m a huge advocate for being involved in my community within my platform.  Hence, I’ve been keeping in contact with the coordinator of a local youth enrichment program, FRoG (Friends of the Gifted and Talented). My efforts paid off when an announcement on my young writing studio was sent via email newsletter to the entire mailing list of FRoG, which I understand spans multiple local school districts. In one week, I had about 8 emails from inquisitive parents, followed up with 5 newly registered students! Get out there and CONNECT! Here’s a site offering Free advertising of your upcoming events
  • Here is a great article on how writers should (and should not) use social medias!
  • Want to get more exposure on Twitter, but don’t want to fall in a manhole by texting and Tweeting on the street? Click here to find out how to bulk-write and then schedule your Tweets.
  • And, last but not least, here is the link to the free ebook, Work At Home Marketing That Doesn’t Suck,by Tina McAllister. Some handy little gems in there!


  • Most of the day’s stresses are melted by watching a few episodes of Seinfield and enjoying a sweet treat at night!
  • Be friendly and social: you never know who you’ll bump into, say, in the grocery store parking lot or waiting to rent a movie. I’ve bumped into several of my students’ parents just being out and about in the neighborhood.
  • Play! This week feeling frazzled and sluggish by deadlines and eating unhealthy, I snapped my laptop closed, grabbed the boys and their bikes and went riding. They rode, I walked/ran to catch up. We found a steeply sloped sidewalk and rode back and forth, then spun in circles in the grassy field and collapsed on the ground in giggles. Felt fantastic!

So…what did you learn this week?


Filed under Advice, Believe, books, Education, Perseverance, Platform/Marketing, Rest

Free ebook that “doesn’t suck”

Author, Tina McAllister,  Beyond The Pen LLC, wrote an ebook about marketing for writers.  Hello? Of course that caught my attention. I’m a writer and such am a marketer (aren’t you?) But this ebook is FREE! Double- hello?

You could go searching for this ebook on your own, or you could get the link from me just by posting your favorite freebies for writers. It could be free downloads to app’s that help us write, organize or budget better. It can be an ebook you found on line that has proved invaluable to your writing career. Maybe an event either locally or via the web?

Every post will get an email from me with the link. (I’ll most likely post the link on Friday to all anyway, but thought this would be a fun way to see what else out there is free – and helpful!)

Share, share, share! And, then… so will I!!


Filed under Advice