Book Cover for Review purposes under Fair Use Doctrine. Also, I want you to know what this book looks like because you need to buy it and read it

I never made it a secret that marketing is far more of a mystery to me than writing or producing a book (and I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes in those areas).

A few weeks ago, I bought one of those “marketing for dummies” books. I got one chapter in before I wanted to know if anyone had something for someone even less educated.

I read J.R. Handley’s blog a few weeks ago.  That blog led me to Joanna’s website. The website led me to her book, “How to Market a Book.”

What this book does for me is speak to me in a manner that makes sense. It’s not just a book on marketing, it’s a book about how to market my product.

At first, I started reading it like a manual. Basically, I thought, “Do all of these .things in this order.”

I don’t know why I thought this as she says one shouldn’t try all of these things at once. What I realize this does now is give several things to try at various times until I find what works for me.

Things that really worked:

There’s a segment about Twitter that I found very helpful.

wiar_how-to-market-a-bookThere are some tools here to use now and then. So this is more of a reference book than a text book. To explain: I can come back to this and study up, and then get more information when I’m ready to try something.

She gives a ton of follow-on sites, blogs, podcasts, interviews, and books that I plan on using here and there as I try different things.

The only thing I wish I could find is what I call more actionable information. I’m intuitive in my craft, but literal in my thinking. I’d kill for more specific step-by-step instructions. Like I really feel that changing keywords on Amazon might help me, but HOW do I do that?  How do I change my categories? I did a search on Author Central, but all I could find basically amounted to “send us an email.” Even then they swear we can only have “two” categories (a main and a sub) when I know for a fact that some books go four levels deep. So how to I get into THOSE categories?  With Caught coming out, I took a LOT of time finding the right book. Joanna DID give some great advice that I followed. It has to do  with looking at books you think are similar and seeing what categories they fall under.

arrows-1617376_960_720This book gave me something I desperately needed. An idea on where to step. I want more steps. I want small, baby steps, but this is a fantastic overview book with critical follow-on material. Seriously, if you’re about to publish your first book, if your book is nearly ready to come out, if your looking at releasing anytime soon, buy this book. The worst mistake I made in releasing a book was releasing a book without knowing remotely how to market a book. I truly wish I’d read this about two years ago. Even better, two years ago. I can’t stress enough how important it is to start building your platform. I’m on the right track now, but I’d be farther ahead if I gave this aspect of this business more attention.

Thanks for reading,



27 thoughts on “Book Review: How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn

  1. Marketing is one of the toughest aspects of the business of writing. When I worked with NPR I never had to worry about it. I generated content and people put it out and a team found it. As an author an novelist, you find yourself buried in a sea of white noise. Determining how to make your book stand out or even get noticed requires… I don’t know? Is it luck, persistence, resilience, connections? Probably, all of the above. Worse, no one’s figured it out. If they had we would all know how to find our audience and readers too would never be fooled and find a book that is a poor fit for them (or just a bad book).

    I don’t know that I have advice, but I share your frustration along this road.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t actually believe in luck. I’m a man of faith, but I truly think that persistence and resilience are the keys. Each book is a drop in an ocean, and the more one works to build his platform, the bigger each follow-on product is. I’m constantly frustrated every day because I want to be a “stay-at-home” author TODAY, but it’s just not time. But I think Caught will do better than Bob, and I think the next book will only bring more and more success. Readers are wonderful people. They WANT to find stories that whisk them away. It’s our job to bring it to them. Cloud did that for me, and I was all too happy to post my review on that book and recommend it. The magic is getting in front of people. When I figure that out, I’ll let everyone know. Thanks for stopping by.


  2. I’ll be sure to pick this up. Marketing is key, yet it’s largely foreign to me. I’ll certainly need to learn at some point, and it’s never too early to start. Thank you for recommending it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I know you’re working on your book, and you’re building already on WordPress. Honestly you need to keep going. Write. That should always be the priority, but oh God, do I wish I had started marketing before even thinking about publishing. I also wish I had a few more books ready to go as well. By all means, pick up this book. You won’t regret it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you found it helpful!! My article that mentions it came out on December 8, 2016 and was an interview with PP Corcoran over at Space Dock, a new science fiction small press publisher. I too took his advice and looked up Madam Penn, what a great resource she is! Be sure to keep us posted, maybe a series of posts titled Weech’s Fertile Markets?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a folder titled (marketing journal), but what I’ve learned (and this book confirms) is the best marketing is a long game. My Goodreads campaign is still going, and I’ve had something along the line of 80K impressions. The CTR is depressingly low, but I’m learning. Just want to note, I’m stoked to see your books out there. You’ve been plugging away on them, and I wish you nothing but success. But I’ll keep my journal and share what I see when each project is done.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the recommendation! I like your description that it’s a reference book rather than a textbook, because you’re right, trying everything at once would likely be too much (and overkill). The dirty little secret of marketing is that there is no magical formula. Different channels work well for different people. Twitter, for instance, would largely make me argumentative, so I’m staying away for the time being. Find what works for you, learn how to use it appropriately, and build on it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m working FB, Twitter and JUST started a Youtube channel. I think I’ll build those platforms and grow from there. I seem to have a good feel for how those are going. At least I’m getting more and more (drip by drip) interaction. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s where I’m at with Facebook. I haven’t used any of their Boost capabilities because I’d like to see how many page likes I can get organically. I’m also just now starting to develop a better sense for the types of posts that do well and what I want to post regularly. But it’s all about experimentation 🙂 As long as you stay active/consistent with it, your audience will grow. I’ll be sure to like your FB page!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m honestly not sure I trust FB as a sales-driving platform, so I haven’t spent any money on advertising there. I’m looking at it more as a way to reach an audience outside of WordPress. Twitter scares me 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m least confident in FB, but (like this book says) I’m putting MOST of my stock in this blog. Everything else is more of a filter with special tid bits. FB has my “Book Cover of the Day posts. Twitter has my “From what I #amreading” posts. Youtube is really more about me geeking out over things. It’s less diagnosis and more raw feeling. With FB, I’m not not sure how to grow my audience. Thanks for following though! I was glad to see you.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You’re welcome! I definitely think there is such a thing as “trying too hard” with social media marketing, and you see companies/brands make that mistake all the time. It just doesn’t feel genuine. I think sticking to what you know and are interested in sharing with people is the best way to grow an organic audience.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy to see this review–I love Joanna Penn. (Though I made a conscious decision to get a couple more books under my belt before turning to marketing.) As for changing your categories and such–I know I’ve done it for The Horned Gate. I think I did it right through the KDP site.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing a resource; I’ll have to check it out. I would like to share a valuable bit of marketing advice from Simon Sinek. “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” When I get discouraged or overwhelmed with writing, publishing or marketing, I go back to my “why.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Sharon. I appreciate the advice. If you’d be so kind, feel free to drop any resource book you’ve found useful in the comments whenever. I could use all the help I can get in that regard. As for next I truly hope I give readers an amazing world to escape to. I want to entertain people.


      1. That’s a great “why.”

        I have a question about comments. I find your posts thought-provoking so I usually have a comment to share. Do you mind? Or do you have a comment limit? I do not want to wear out my welcome or be a nuisance.

        Thanks for sharing; hope you have a lovely day.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. My last reply was short (phone blogging). I’m honored that you like my posts. I LOVE talking shop and sharing thoughts. You can post as much as you like. If you’d ever just like to chat or ask questions, my email is available too. That’s for longer or more in-depth questions or points of discussion. In my dream scenario, this blog is chock full of people just darting ideas back and forth all day (in between writing sessions at least). I felt my last reply needed a bit more elaboration. Thanks for stopping by Sharon, and I hope to hear from you often.


    1. Thank YOU! I really appreciate your promptness in answering my question. I, too, thinks it’s great when there is back-and-forth exchanges about common interests. As for my questions or comments: What comes out on paper is only a tithe of what goes on in my head so I have to be careful I don’t overdo it. I hope you have a very lovely day.

      Liked by 1 person

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