Marketing Made Fun

Kathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked and other books, retired from real estate to pursue writing full time. She’s here today to talk about the many ways she markets her books.

Purebred Dead, the first in the new Mary McGill series, was released in August 2015 and Curtains for Miss Plym was released in April 2016. Blood Red, White and Blue was released in July 2017 and was a finalist for best canine book of the year in the Dog Writers of America annual writing contest. Kathleen’s newest book in the series, Dressed to Kill, will be released in the UK on August 1, 2019 and in the US on November 1, 2019.

My 9th mystery novel, Dressed To Kill, will be released in the US Nov 5, 2019. This is the 4th in the Mary McGill canine mysteries where Mary solves the murders, but not without help from her Cocker Spaniel, Millie, even if Millie’s help is not exactly orthodox, and where there is always a visiting dog. By that I mean a dog that will not necessarily show up in all the books but plays an important part in whichever book he/she appears.

Writing these books is a lot of fun. I get to think up impossible murders for Mary to solve and dangerous positions she and Millie find themselves in with an inventive way to get out alive before the book ends.

What’s not so much fun is marketing the book after it is finished.

Writers are, by the very nature of what we do, solitary creatures. We spend a lot of time at our desks, either typing like mad things, or staring out the window, trying to figure out what happens next. Oh, we enjoy getting out to events, meeting other writers and especially fans, but most of our lives are spent with people who exist only on the printed page. So, how to go about letting the world know we have once again completed another adventure for our mythical characters, and it is now available for them to enjoy is not always easy..

Most of the marketing advice given a writer goes like this. Go to conferences, set up book signings, give talks to whatever group will let you in the door, and blanket social media. Ok. I have done all that. I have been to book signings where literally no one showed up and others where I had people standing in line to have books signed. I like those kind best. I have given talks where we had a full house and others where one person came. I have been to conferences and had fun but even if I was on a panel or two, I rarely was sure I made an impact. I know I made one. A lady in the audience asked me where I got my cat tee shirt. Not sure if she bought a book. They’re about dogs. As for social media, I think there is a limit to how many times anyone wants to see the new book cover and read pleas to buy it. Or read it. Or visit my web site.

Please don’t think these things don’t work. They do. I’ve sold a lot of books to a lot of people, they are in a lot of libraries, and stocked by a lot of wonderful independent book sellers. But the same old marketing approach gets boring. I, and most of the writers I know try to think up different approaches to this marketing thing. Things that will get the book noticed in places and in  ways it might otherwise be ignored. I tried taking the first Mary McGill book, Purebred Dead, to a cocker spaniel show, sure I’d sell tons. After all, the book is about cockers. Turned out the people there were more interested in their own cockers than in my fictional one. Then I thought, since Purebred Dead starts at a Christmas extravaganza and some of the participants stage the 12 Days of Christmas, that maybe I’d use that idea. I would talk some of my daughters and daughters-in-law into dressing up like Maids a Milking, borrow a cow, and see if we could set up in front of the Good Morning, America show in Times Square. I’d get my grandkids to hand out flyers about the book and – well, that didn’t work. All the girls refused emphatically, no one would lend me a cow and I never could figure out how to get it to Times Square on the subway.

However, I’m still trying. Dressed to Kill opens with a clown (it’s Halloween) robbing a local bank and shooting a couple of people, one the Chief of Police. No, I am not going to dress up like a clown and I have never owned so much as a toy gun, so that idea’s out. I’m sure there is something else I can do, something different, unique that will draw attention to the book and make people want to read it. Any ideas?

Or, you could just read the book. Want to try before you buy? Read the 1st chap here. It’s free.