marketing 101

some people can sell anything.

some people can sell anything they believe in.

and then there are those who can sell anything they believe in, unless they were the one who created it.  I, unfortunately, belong in this latter category.

my undergrad is in marketing.  and although our world has changed dramatically since I earned that degree, many of the principles remain intact.  research, target markets, distribution, advertising…regardless of the product, success occurs when all of these pieces come together effectively.  to sell something–anything–one must have a marketing plan and be (or hire) a salesman.

all I want to do is be a writer.  I don’t want to be a salesman.  I want to create written works; I don’t want to create marketing plans.  but alas, I live in these interesting times, and I am still an “unknown” in the world of published books.  thus, if I want to get anywhere, I have to become a salesman.

at this point I have one co-authored self-published book out there, faith greater than pain.  it’s available on amazon.  we’ve sold a few hundred copies, which surpasses by far the typical sales number for a self-published book, which is somewhere around 50.  we’re kicking butt.  but we’d like to sell a few hundred more, then another thousand or so.  and then more.  according to the Deseret News, it’s a phenomenal read, and it deserves a wide audience.  but I still can’t figure out how to effectively market it.

and then my latest dilemma:  the next book, the constant possibility of grace.  this is a beautiful book, written to bring greater awareness to an amazing humanitarian organization that is working to increase social parity throughout our world.  I wrote this book to let others know about CHOICE Humanitarian, and at this point, with the manuscript sitting in the proverbial drawer, I’m not fulfilling my mission.  so . . . it’s time to dig out the marketing hat.  at least that’s what I’m trying to convince myself to do.  and I find it terribly difficult.

a good friend of mine, years ago, when a place was swarming with people would say, everyone and their pet alligator were trying to find space, get in, make a purchase, whatever the situation might be.  and that’s how I feel about the writing world:  everyone and their pet alligator wants to write a book.  everyone and their pet alligator wants to publish a book, capture an agent’s attention, find a publisher.  I am just one more.

one more human trying to create a web presence, garner some attention, make a name for myself, drum up interest, build a platform, find someone–somewhere–with a nationally heard voice to support what I do.  one more human trying to navigate the world of social media and networking.

so, right now I’m trying to put my creative energies into formulating a marketing plan for my grace book.   it’s not enough to simply publish it myself;  without a plan to support its introduction to the world I’ll be lucky to sell 50 copies.  I’m networking, reaching out to everyone I know who has any kind of a connection, working on tight cover copy and blurbs, designing schemes and promotions.  when I’d rather be–my soul cries out for me to be–simply writing.

but I and my pet alligator are joining the fray.  we’re here for the long haul, and we’re not giving up.  I’m remembering my purpose in creating this book and making that the focus so I don’t have to make it about me.  this way I can brag about the subject, not the incredible writing (smile).

pet alligator and I are going back to school, marketing 101.  keep an eye out for us, because we’re tenacious.  there will come a day when you’ll be hearing about this book from someone other than the two of us.


life shifts in subtle ways daily, most so minor we can neither see nor feel them.  we age, our bike tires wear thinner and thinner, dust collects on our bedside stack of books.

and then there are larger shifts: we give birth, we change jobs, we move.  we choose a new school, a new career, a new partner, we take up a new sport.

I’ve been through so many shifts and changes in the past 10 years I don’t know that I could ever list them all, but today’s is momentous, so I am sharing it here:  my first book is in print!  (well, it’s not my first book, but it’s the first of my books to be in print.)

released yesterday, Faith Greater Than Pain is available on,, and on

Doc Cleland and I have been working on this project together since june of 2010, and we are thrilled to be where we are, with a real book in hand.  we are in the midst of marketing madness, working on mailing lists and store contacts and bribery lists . . . asking everyone we know to help spread the word, using every tool we have to get the information out.

I, of course, would rather just be writing away on my next project (stay tuned), but for the last chunk of time I’ve been editing, proofing, and formatting, and now I’ve plunked my marketing cap on my head.  writing me is not pleased, but realistic me knows that as gratifying as it is to write, it’s even more gratifying if someone actually reads what you write.

so, if you’re intrigued, here’s a link to doc’s great video that tells you about the book, and if you have a spare moment in your day today, wish me well.  wish me sales and positive reviews, wish me fulfillment and encouragement to keep on with the next project.

because as sure as my tires wear thinner and those wrinkles around my eyes deepen, I dream about spending the rest of my life writing, and–ideally–being read.